Next Episode of How to Get a Council House is
The series that goes behind the scenes with council housing officers, in the London Borough of Hounslow, which is one of the most diverse boroughs in the country and is a desirable place to live. Escalating house prices and a burgeoning rental market have left over 3000 households on the council's housing waiting list and there simply aren't enough homes for everyone. With help going to those who need it the most, it's up to applicants to convince housing officers they deserve the keys. Competition is fierce, and the housing officers have to work out who's most in need and whether the story they're hearing is fact or fiction.
Single mum Beverley has fallen behind with her rent, partially, she says, due to recent welfare reforms. Now facing eviction, she and her 21-year-old epileptic son Zane turn up at the council looking for help. Shane says he's living on his mum's sofa with his three children.
The London Borough of Hounslow is facing a housing crisis. Due to a dwindling stock of social housing, and rising demand from applicants struggling to find affordable private sector properties, the council is being forced to house families in temporary accommodation. As this predominantly consists of bed and breakfast rooms and private sector lets, the council is at the mercy of the private housing market, and has run up housing debts of ú3.5 million. This episode takes an unflinching look at Hounslow Council's attempts to curb its spiralling temporary accommodation bill, and meets the families who are stuck in inadequate housing or turned away without help. Hotel cleaner Danielle and her eight-year-old son have been evicted from their privately rented flat for failing to pay the rent. If the council find her responsible for becoming homeless, they won't receive help, social services will be called, and Danielle's son could be taken into care.
Last year, over half a million immigrants arrived in the UK, all needing somewhere to live. Just four miles from Heathrow, the London Borough of Hounslow is a gateway to Britain and the council's housing department is struggling to cope with an influx of housing applications from people from overseas. This episode follows those who have come from abroad and have no option but to turn to the council for housing. Competition is fierce and the futures of many families rest in the hands of the council's housing officers, but getting a council house isn't easy, even if you're facing homelessness. Florin, his wife and their five children have come from Romania for a better life in Britain but, without a home or a job, they face the bleak prospect of having to sleep rough. Monika is from Poland and her husband Frederick is from Uganda. They've been living with their two children in a privately rented home in Hounslow for four years.
Almost two million households in the UK are waiting for a council house but, with a severe social housing shortage, more and more people on low incomes have to find a home in the private sector. In London demand is high, rents are spiralling and some landlords are taking advantage. More and more people are living in substandard conditions in houses of multiple occupancy, and even in a growing number of sheds and garages cheaply converted into accommodation for maximum profit. The council can only help those most in need, while battling to improve the living conditions of those they can't rehouse. Shayne is living in a cramped bedsit, which he says he can only access by climbing through a window.
Anthony Stewart Head(Narrator)
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