Today, myself and other bloggers travelled to help fellow blogger Clara who writes at I want my mummy. Myself, Mammasaurus, SeasiderClare and Two Under Two Too spent the day painting. If you want to help with labour, materials, furniture or in any way want to help spread the message, that would be awesome.
Go check out her post and see if you're not as outraged, furious, shocked and appalled as I was at the housing that her council have offered a young, vulnerable family.
Let me explain, in case you're under the illusion that our welfare system provides an adequate safety net to people in times of need. And you tell me that these set of circumstances couldn't easily have happened to you, or members of your family, or your best friend.
Clara had her daughter 19 months ago. Her and her husband were living in a nice, privately rented house. After the birth of her daughter, Clara was hit HARD by Post Natal Depression. She was so poorly that her husband had to stop work to look after her and their baby.
Their landlord suddenly announced one day that he was selling the property. They were given one month's notice to find a new home. Without the savings to cover a deposit and one month's rent in advance, they moved into Clara's parents. Being closer to her family, and the support they could offer would undoubtedly help with her PND. They contacted the council and explained their circumstances, and were offered emergency housing, as they were now effectively homeless.
This is what they were given.
Bear in mind, they are paying rent NOW on this property. Until they are able to move in, they are also paying for storage of all their possessions and are contributing to their upkeep at their parent's.
The home is unfit to live in. Yes, the council have 'installed a kitchen' (5 cupboards, a sink and a little bit of worktop). They haven't however dealt with the obscene graffiti on the kitchen window, the smashed pane from vandalism, the boarded up back door where it's been kicked in, the bird shit on the kitchen walls, the layers of congealed fat, hanging like stalactites from the artex.
Yes, the council have laid some shingle in part of the back garden. But they haven't replaced the fence that runs almost the entire boundary line adjacent to a public alleyway. The shingle is now simply a giant litter tray for the many local cats and dogs. They haven't made it secure from vandals, or safe for a 19 month old to play in. They haven't dealt with the exposed wire sticking up from the ground.
Yes, they have given Clara the 'maximum re-decorating allowance' of £25 per room. But let me tell you, we used approximately £40 of paint on the living room to cover the filth, the grime, the damp patches and the shoddy walls. That's without even taking into account the cost of materials for sanding, filling, woodwork, flooring, curtains, lighting...
Yes, I realise there are people worse off. I know there are people without a roof at all. Or families who are living in one-bedroom B&B accommodation. It's exactly for all these people that we need to raise awareness.
I was under the impression that our society, our councils, our government had a safety net in place when people reached rock bottom. That they would help them back on their feet. That they would care for and support our most vulnerable people.
But if this is it, it's not good enough. It's just not bloody good enough.