Think the Housing Crisis is boring and too complex? Then try being homeless — you'll realise how simply it can all be solved

It all becomes clear once you’re sitting with your family in a hostel, staring at the walls

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The Independent Online

In 2013 I received a call from my mum to say that our family home, which we had been lived in for thirteen years, was being sold, and that we were being evicted.

The house’s rent had stayed at a manageable rate while we were there, and it was only when my mum was forced to look at other prices in our area that it became apparent that everything else was now out of her price range.

Our whole world collapsed. When you lose your home, you lose the way you relate to everything around you, and the way you define yourself. It’s the place where you create relationships, and discuss the weight of the world. When that’s taken away from you, you feel paralyzed, empty, and completely violated.

The housing crisis has been around for a while now. The word "crisis" usually requires some sort of urgency, but politicians have long been avoiding the issue. While headlines, agendas and conversations once popped and fizzed with passion and concern,  it's gone on for so long that we've become desensitised. The housing crisis has become part of the media furniture.

But the reality is that getting on the housing market is now a completely unattainable goal for so many people. But in the context of stagnant wages, rising living costs, limited housing stock and competitive landlords, it's unsurprising. Originally, council housing was a manageable option for the working classes. But now it now represents the only possible option for so many people around the country, particularly in London.

 

With so many more people now depending on council housing who may once have privately rented or owned their own home, the only option is to either build more council housing or regulate the market by enforcing rent caps. The thing is, the solutions are there, but the issues generally affect the lower end of the economic spectrum, which isn't occupied at all by those in power. So even when politicians say it is, it's not actually on their agenda; they just don't understand, because it's not in their financial interest to do so.

One of my heroes, the activist Assata Shakur, once said “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” Central government’s actions so far have been both immoral and senseless. They’ve had far too long to dwell on the housing crisis, so it’s time to bypass the political process and take up grassroots action. This is what we’ve seen recently with people who have never taken action before protesting, marching and petitioning to defend their right to a home, and to dispel the myth that politicians can’t do anything about it.

All the white noise around the housing crisis in the last year or so seems to have created a “no-can-do” attitude with politicians. They give excuses as to why things are the way they are, but don’t seem to be doing anything about it. In most places of employment, that kind of attitude would get you fired.

Yes, solving the crisis is going to take time, and there's no single solution. But when you’re sitting in a hostel for the homeless with your mum and sister, staring at the walls, it all suddenly becomes very simple.

If the greed of buy to let landlords is forcing people out of their homes and driving housing prices up – introduce a rent cap.

If Essex is surrounded by expansive green land, and offers a huge opportunity to build homes, then do just that. I love Mother Nature, but making sure everyone has a place to live is important. And if there’s a shortfall in council housing, then set aside budget to build more and hold people to it.

The housing crisis and its origins is incredibly complex, but through the eyes of a homeless person the solutions are so simple. And that's the kind of clarity we need – someone to call out the BS that’s been going on for too long from destroying any more lives.

Daisy has been making a documentary throughout the homeless process called HALF WAY.  You can visit the website www.halfwayfilm.co.uk for updates and donations.

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