Housing association and council tenants are, in truth, just like the rest of us - people doing their best for themselves and their families. They are doing so in what are often cripplingly difficult circumstances. In these situations, nobody should be blamed for poverty or characterised as a cheat, scrounger or failure.
When I speak to people who have been homeless about their experience of seeking help from their local council, they often describe feelings of utter frustration and despair. Too many people are not being served by the current legal framework which requires councils to offer accommodation to homeless households, but only in limited circumstances.
Dear Mr Cameron... I write firstly to congratulate you on your election victory which in my opinion was won on the back of the very excellent job that you and George Osborne did in repairing our shattered economy.
Concurrent policies to build 200,000 starter homes are to be applauded, but given the dismal record of housebuilding over the last decades, perhaps the applause should be put on hold until some front door keys have actually been handed over. Otherwise, how odd to focus energy on encouraging those with a subsidised roof over their heads also to own it, at a stroke removing availability to others in need.
Thousands of garages are estimated to be lying empty in London alone. My report, From Lock Up to Start Up has identified 3,275 empty garages owned between just ten housing associations across the Capital. Converting some of these empty garages into basic standard, affordable studios, workshops and commercial space could provide the much needed affordable space that London's start-ups and micro businesses so desperately need.
We can't afford to be caught unaware like this again. There is too much at stake: the country is in a housing crisis and needs housing associations to build homes, while millions of people around the country depend on them for shelter. These businesses need to be strong and must be able to weather even the harshest of storms.
For those of us involved in housing, the growth agenda is what matters. We understand how important growth is for the economy and how essential it is that we create new jobs, not least because so many housing associations are exploring ways of assisting their residents to get into work.