Housing crisis next year
THE CATHOLIC Housing Aid Society, CHAS, is predicting a housing crisis for 1982. A recently-issued report traces the crisis to the continuing Government cuts in public expenditure.
The report says council accommodation will simply not be available to the vast majority of the 1.2 million estimated to be on waiting lists. As the report claims "Fewer council houses are being built now than at any time in the last 40 years."
The report blames the present position on the massive cuts in public spending on housing. Both the present Government and the previous Labour Government have tried to reduce expenditure by central and local government.
The present Conservative administration plans to reduce spending by four per cent between 1980-81 and 1983-84, but during this same period housing is to be cut by 48 p.c.
This huge reduction in housing, some £2,026 million according to the report, is equivalent to 62 p.c. of all reductions in public expenditure over the next three years. The result will be -a mounting housing shortage, further. unemployment in the building industry, and suffering for a large number of people who are trying their best to live on moderate incomes."
While criticising Government monetary policy on the grounds that present attempts to control inflation are "leading to much higher rates of unemployment and much less involvement in housing.the report says that "the central issue is not the creation of wealth, but the
distribution of wealth. The great danger is that British society will become increasingly divided into two groups: the employed living in secure homes which they own — and the unemployed or lowpaid workers living in poor housing"._ The report contains four case histories, each an illustration of the real suffering caused by homelessness and each an example of the hard work put in by CHAS and other housing associations.
One case involved a girl of seventeen who had been thrown out of home by her stepfather. Having stayed with a girl friend for several weeks she decided to return to her home town in the Midlands. She therefore approached the local housing authority which was able to offer sympathy hut no accommodation for at least nine months.
Eventually she decided to join a legal squatting group on the estate where she had previously lived. After help and intercession from CHAS she was finally given council accommodation.
This kind of work is becoming increasingly necessarily in the harsh light or more Government spending cuts. But, as the association's annual report makes clear. CHAS itself is suffering financially and ended the year with a deficit of 12,739.
If it is to continue its efforts in the area of housing and in its work towards, as it says. "a more just society". it is in great need of funds. CHAS is at, 189a Old Brampton Road, London SW5 OR.