Your Affordable Home Is Falling Down. Sorry, It Can’t Be Fixed. You Have To Move. Not.

view of street with London School of Economics banner
Aldwych_and_LSE photo by Gohsuke Takama is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Aldwych (Street) in London, with a London School of Economics building visible on the right.

“But where will we go?”

Scanning affordable housing stories worldwide, an article reports some unfortunate locale were residents are being evicted from social or public housing practically every day.

Four constant themes define virtually all these stories.

There are frightened and angry residents and their supporters, who question why it has to happen and where, given affordable housing crises everywhere, they will possibly find new housing that they can afford.

There is an inconvenient fact: the building(s) has come to the end of its useful life and is too expensive to maintain or refurbish.

There is a neighbourhood public, sold for decades that on the story that public/social housing buildings are hotbeds of crime and drugs. They will be quite happy to see the back of the old buildings and their unwanted occupants.

There is a deliberate lie, willful blindness, or at best pure ignorance, that forms the basis of a conspiracy between local government and private developers. Unnecessary fears are to be calmed by claims that “affordable” housing will be part of a replacement project. In fact, the “affordability” will be unrelated to the needs of the tenants facing eviction. The departing tenants will know perfectly well they are being screwed. But neighbours will be inclined to accept the assurances at face value, assuaging their consciences.

For one of many examples of these kinds of almost daily occurrences, read a Canadian example at Global News: Tensions Boil As Residents Continue Fight Against Hampstead Demolition Project

So does this really need to happen? Good news stories about aging social/public housing buildings and the fate of their vulnerable tenants are few and far between. The Home Group1, one of the United Kingdom’s largest housing associations, is testing the refurbishment route. Their initiative has contributed to a framework, which puts the “there’s nothing else that we can do” mentality to the test. It offers practical tools to assess whether replacing aging housing is the most economical, or socially healthy response.

Read more in Housing Today: LSE Academic Develops ‘Social Value’ Housing Framework

Download the framework by authors Bert Provan and Anne Power from the London School of Economics: Estate Regeneration and Social Value


  1. Home Group is a social enterprise and charity, and home to 125,000 people (55,000 units). Their mandate includes housing and integrated housing, health and social care. They are regenerating their housing stock with guidance from the residents. They are also developing new affordable housing.


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