The public housing system, if we choose to use it, very often denies us the right of choice, and very often exposes us to danger.
In most cases, we have to take the first housing offered even if it is in a dangerous or highly polluted area. Many of us either do not go into public housing or leave it once we are there, because we cannot live happy healthy lives under such conditions.
Here is the story of one of the members of our Facebook Group, Housing Alternatives.
“Thank you for accepting me.
I am turning 59 next week. I am currently boarding with an older couple.
I lived in social housing for 11 years but the noise and pollution was so very intense and affected my already unwell body. I left the unit only 2 months ago, terrified at what may happen to me as I am on a pension and have spent my savings on trying to get well the last 15 years.
But I had to leave… the stress exacerbated my illness. So I am grateful for where I landed but I don’t think it’s permanent. I understand nothing is, but a home is still a very desirable thing for me.
I have 4 grown children and 6 grandchildren. I educated myself in my 40s after my marriage ended, so that I could earn my living. However I became very ill after battling with cancer and subsequent surgeries etc. I manage my body and mind well.
I have a lot of skills and experience. But I am chronically exhausted and my main career now is looking after myself… and then the family. So I rely completely now on the government to support me financially. Thank god we have a government who does.
I also believe there are proactive measures to home people like myself that could be implemented. I often notice on Facebook that in other countries housing initiatives are happening. I’m sure our lucky country can follow suit on some that work. Thank you again… I look forward to positive outcomes.”
Some say that we don’t have the right of choice, that we should be thankful for anything we get, but is it right that a society is prepared to destroy the retirement years and the health of those who have contributed to that society for a lifetime?
Are we entitled to safe living conditions and a pleasant retirement if we have been careless enough to care for other all our lives, or foolish enough to get sick?
What would happen to a society in which everyone prioritised themselves and their own financial status above all else? Who would take the low paid jobs caring for children and the sick and the elderly? Who would work to keep marriages alive and bring children up to be good citizens?
Who would want to live in a world without the care givers, yet, as a society we expect to throw them away when they get sick or old. Really? Is this the world we want?