Today it is 52 years since the BBC first screened Cathy Come Home. This created a sensation at the time and is credited as advancing the causes of what were, at that time, charitable housing associations such as Notting Hill Housing Trust, (NHHT, founded in 1963), and Paddington Churches Housing Association, (PCHA, founded in 1965).
Shelter benefited enormously from Cathy Come Home when it was founded by Bruce Kenrick, (one of the creators of Notting Hill Housing Trust), in the month after its transmission. Shelter remains a charity, unlike either NHHT or PCHA, (which merged to become the largest constituent part of Genesis).
Back then, housing associations such as PCHA and NHHT were dedicated to social housing and helping those most in need of a decent home. Nowdays they are flogging off those same decent homes with their social rents in order to fund new build homes for sale or rent at expensive open market prices or at laughably called “affordable” rents, (up to 80% of market rents), or for shared ownership, (new build, part buy, part rent).
Now merged as Notting Hill Genesis, you have only to look at their many media advertisements to see that they have become just another commercial property development company, without any redeeming social ethos. Advertisements, such as, the one that the Advertisng Standards Authority (ASA) told NHG not to publish again without changes, stretch the truth about shared ownership somewhat. Apart from the accuracy of NHG’s advertisements, so full of gushing self praise, this wouldn’t be the first time that people appearing in NHG publicity have turned out on investigation to be either staff or models/actors.
In their early days, PCHA and NHHT received many properties free or at knock-down prices. How many of those donors would have been so generous had they known that their gifts would later be sold-off to the wealthy, so as to build homes for those in no great need, and to stick a finger into NHG’s dyke of spiralling debts.
The scandal that is shared ownership is ballooning to PPI proportions. For reasons such as, that ownership is never actually ‘shared’! Until 100% paid for, you are just a tenant with a mortgage, plus additional overheads that ordinary tenants don’t have, like ground rent or cyclical re-decoration costs. NHG are so very keen on shared ownership because it is so very lucrative.
Shelter reports that last year fewer homes were provided at social rents than at any time since the Second World War.
# The magnificent contribution by Genesis to the total, was 6 new social homes.
As others have said, private renters are being screwed and local communities are being destroyed by private property developers working with predatory housing associations such as Notting Hill Genesis.
Notting Hill Genesis should be hanging their heads in shame at having betrayed their original Cathy Come Home ideals of providing decent homes for those most in need. You know though, that no heads at NHG ever hang in shame because they never stop demonstrating that they just don’t have any.
(After Cathy Come Home, actress Carol White starred in films such as Poor Cow.
She died in Florida in 1991 aged 48. Co-star Ray Brooks is still around, aged 79).