Bristol Labour’s new housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith lets slip a few very INTERESTING FACTS in a piece of shameless self-promotion he’s written for the Guardian:
“Bristol has a real problem with homelessness, with more than 300 households in temporary accommodation at a net cost to the council tax payer of £800,000 a year; at the same time 550 council homes are empty, losing rent of £2m and £700,000 in council tax. “
Er, sorry, come again? We’ve been handing around a £1,000 a month to private sector temporary housing ‘specialists’ for each homeless family – at a cost he alleges of £800k but is likely to be much more – while leaving 550 council homes they could live in sat EMPTY?
Council homes that could generate almost £3m in income to the city. That’s lots of money and housing stock that we could be using to house the homeless ourselves. Instead our money’s being handed over to DODGY LOCAL BUSINESSMEN to provide a revolting, anti-human homeless service while our own housing resources are left to ROT.
Wolfie’s wrong. This city hasn’t got a homeless problem. It’s got a HOUSING MANAGEMENT PROBLEM. What the fuck is going on at Bristol City Council’s housing department? Wolfie offers us half an explanation:
“six years of austerity, service cuts, redundancies and restructures, all of which have destroyed both morale and provision”
It’s not just morale and provision that’s been destroyed, however. The concept of a social housing department that’s there to serve the public and provide support to the vulnerable has been PULVERISED.
The city’s senior housing bosses – strategic director, Alison “Three Jobs” Comley and service directors, Nick “Drooper” Hooper and Mary “Contrary” Ryan – have obsessively focused – for over six years now – on delivering Tory policies of AUSTERITY, CUTS and PRIVATISATION at the expense of their actual jobs of delivering a housing service to the public.
We’ve had these three fucking idiots systematically SACKING, DOWNGRADING and DESKILLING their workforce for over eight years now while introducing a GORMLESS CORPORATE CULTURE of privatisation, outsourcing, constant restructuring, regular office moves, ‘agile working’, management consulting, ‘demand management’, half-arsed techno solutions, useless software and IT fixes and any other PASSING MANAGEMENT FAD a well paid consultant can pass off on this trio of useful idiots.
These three bosses haven’t bothered running a housing department in the traditional sense for years. They’ve been implementing a right wing, ANTI-PUBLIC SECTOR ideology. DOWNGRADING a vital public service to the point where it’s barely viable. Try phoning (0117 922 2200) Drooper Hooper’s housing department and see if you can even get to speak to a human being.
All three need to QUIT or be SACKED. We need normal housing bosses in our housing department who can quickly provide homes fit to occupy and get families into these homes. It’s not difficult and it’s what a housing department should do. Leaving council homes EMPTY while stuffing the pockets of local businessmen with large amounts of public cash for shit housing is nothing short of a criminal enterprise.
The current housing management needs to go and go now. They’ve fucked up our city up and now they need to fuck off.