Friday, 13 September 2013

Rooms to Spare for Raquel Rolnik

Raquel Rolnik, the doyenne of all things housing has condemned a non-existent tax without speaking to the cabinet minister responsible for housing benefit. Not once did she attempt to investigate or comment on a very real problem which has real impacts on public health and quality of life, overcrowding.  As a young newly qualified Environmental Health Officer one of my first jobs was to visit a house where there was a report of a notifiable disease. The young boy had Hepatitis A and was quite poorly. The following day I had to go back to the same house, not because of him but because there was another report of another person at the same address and the following day another. The reason for the repeated visits and the family's ongoing suffering was clear. There were three generations and nine people in a two bedroom council house. The infectious disease was spreading rapidly through the overcrowded house with living rooms used as bedrooms and even one sleeping on a camp bed on the landing. They desperately needed help but, despite the council being aware of their plight, were unable to offer anything as there were more deserving cases ahead of them. This is not a blog about benefit scroungers demanding mansions. This was a working family looking after each other in need of help.Unfortunately I met too many families in a similar plight all for the want of extra room which they would have been quite happy to pay rent for. Did Ms. Rolnik visit any such families, if she did then she certainly didn't give them the voice they need. Instead she chose to comment on her own political agenda it was up to Grant Shapps to point out the indignity of overcrowding something which is lost on those intent on pursuing a political agenda to satisfy their own insatiable ego.

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