Sign of the times

If you have a blog then you’ve probably got access to a host of usage statistics for your site, information on links to and from your blog, and the search terms that people used to lead them to your words of wisdom.

I’ve just noticed that someone found their way to this blog today by entering the following search terms:

losing home waiting for social security

That brought me up short. It was truly affecting. A clear sign of the times.

One can only speculate on the combination of circumstances, the concatenation of events, that placed someone in such a precarious position. And on the absence of accessible local help that led someone to search the web for assistance on such a serious matter.

I may well write about housing and housing policy – as I have recently here and here – but I feel distinctly inadequate in being completely unable to offer anything sensible to assist someone with such a pressing and enormously important problem.

In the cut and thrust of the political process insults and accusations are traded, alongside clashes over the mind-bogglingly huge numbers for government spending and cuts in welfare and state assistance. The criticism has been levelled at the Coalition that it is a cabinet of millionaires who can have no real empathy or insight into the impact of the policies it is inflicting upon the British population. That may or may not be a fair accusation. But it is certainly vital that we never forget that these debates are not an abstract game for the entertainment of the political classes.

Decisions taken in Westminster can have profound implications for every member of society.  And, unless great care is taken, devastating implications for the poorest.

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Comments

  1. “losing home waiting for social security”

    Ouch. Hopefully the person searching will find the support they need to work through this.

    If they happen to visit again the key message is support is available to help you keep your home. It varies locally. The first step is to find out what good support is available and how to get it in time.

    My advice is to ring or call in to your local council Housing department as a first step. Some are supportive, some are actively hostile. Next try your local council Supporting People team, they are generally more supportive and you want an urgent referral for floating support.

    Next ring your nearest CAB, Shelter or local advice centre if there is one. These vary, some are very good, some are too slow and inexpert.

    Personally I’ve never known a situation with arrears due to late welfare payments that wasn’t solveable.

    On a more general note one of Labour’s most successful housing policies was to greatly increase the amount of support available to people struggling to keep their housing resulting in much lower homelessness. From Supporting People to legal aid for welfare advice this is all being cut back.

  2. @inks2010 – Thanks for your comments and setting out some of the practicalities. Hopefully if someone comes looking again they’ll pick up your advice.

    At a policy level, you’re right that most of the resources that would assist in this type of situation are either already being cut or under threat. It is inevitable that more people are going to be struggling, both with independent living and accessing appropriate advice. And anyone with a concern for equality of access to the law and due process has got to be worried.

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