Monday, 18 September 2017

#Housingday celebrates social housing but a change of government is needed to save it

Today is celebrated as national Housing Day on social media remembering the positive impact that social housing has on families across our country:  social housing isn't just a roof over your head.  It's about creating homes and communities.  

Here in Reading our local Labour party is proud to support social housing, not just maintaining it for our current tenants but also building new housing whereever we can for to help meet the need for good quality homes for our residents.  I've been delighted to be involved in this first as lead councillor for housing and more recently in ensuring specialist housing is built for our elderly and disabled residents.  

However the fact remains that this Conservative government, previously propped up by the Liberal Democrats and now by the DUP have presided over a housing crisis made worse by their policies - which reflect that they have no real understanding of social housing and the very positive impact it has on the lives of tenants and the whole community.  

Across the country tenants, councillors, Labour MPs, housing associations are calling on the government to change it's approach to social housing.  Hardly a week seems to go by without some new attack on what social housing means.  A very simple action the government could take to show it has been listening would be to scrap the bedroom tax.  A tax that is still hurting hundreds of people - 2/3rd of them women - in Reading alone.  If you agree sign the petition and perhaps it will signal to this government and Alok Sharma that housing isn't just about a roof, it's about a home.
However I know that the only way we'll really get a change of heart and a government that really understands the contribution that social housing makes is when we elect a Labour government.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Here's asking: Are you OK?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day.  The theme this year is 'take a minute, change a life'.  We all can help someone whether they are just 'feeling down' or at risk of death from suicide by taking a moment and asking if they are OK.  This week we're being encouraged to ask people we know 'R U OK?' and taking the time to have a chat and listen to them.

Suicidal thoughts can affect people in all sorts of circumstances and reaching out for help is nothing to be ashamed of.    
Even just writing this post has made me think of a couple of friends I want to check in with.

So here's asking my friends and family- are you OK?