Not MY Neighbour!

I’m sure even our overseas visitors have heard about the Grenfell fire tragedy in the UK, involving a massive 24 storey 220 foot residential tower block.

Many were killed, burnt alive as fire swept fast and unexpectedly through the whole of the tall building due what we now know were cost cutting measures that otherwise would have seen the fire correctly contained to one apartment. Orphans were made as desperate mothers, accepting their own dire fate, threw their babies from great heights to strangers below. Many are still missing, by now of course presumed dead.

But I want to move the story on for The Big Question to get your point of view on the further developments.
There’s no more survivors. The various authorities, having done nothing for their tragic constituents for about a week, have kicked in and found new homes for (most of) the now homeless survivors.

This has caused some issues. I’ll illustrate this with 2 Camps.

Camp1 are the Grenfell fire victims who are now are going to be housed in an apartment block in a ‘swanky’ part of London within a luxury development. The government has basically gone to the new luxury development which had not finished selling it’s apartments and bought up all the remaining homes… nearby. This has ruffled the feathers of some of the residents there (who we’ll call Camp 2) who say that they don’t want them there. As an exclusive development the residents have paid a premium for the services, the exclusivity and to get to live with the ‘type of person’ who is able to live there.

The fire victims Camp 1, need homes. They need to settle down somewhere where they can mourn their missing loved ones and begin re-building their thoroughly shattered lives.

Ho-w-e-v-e-r….

Most sane people would understand the needs of Camp 1 but I wonder if there is some understanding of the wealthy residents in Camp 2‘s point of view or not? ‘Type of person’ sounds snooty in black and white on a computer screen, but can and does have a variety of meanings. In this case it more than likely means some or all of the following; Low income, benefit dependent, foreign, illegal, Muslim…
The main argument being that you don’t pay a high premium for amenities and exclusivity to share the space with people who don’t.

A few views:

‘Have you heard about how they are letting these people who don’t work live in luxury apartments? People are saying that they don’t want these people here in their apartments, that they rely too much on the government. They are saying: ‘I pay £5,000 a month to live here’

‘North Kensington is not this Kensington. They should be in a place where they are happy, but not here. I don’t want them here.’

I should point out that the apartments the Grenfell survivors will be given are ‘social housing’ apartments which are usually very nice apartments built in close proximity to uber luxury apartments in a general deal struck up by the various councils and luxury developers to provide low income housing. So they get the nice area, the really nice apartments, but not the private communal cinema or access to the swimming pools, gyms etc.

Social housing being built in proximity to luxury residential building. Photo: Lucy Pasha-Robinson

I’ll also add that pretty much the whole thing was done in a knee jerk reaction by the authorities to make up for the initial total inertia and lack of leadership, accountability, compassion and duty of care shown to the residents when the tragedy started to unfold. Think Hurricane Katrina.

Here are some images from the luxury apartments. Not feeling the decor myself but there you go!

One gets the feeling that had they handled the situation better, Camp 1 would have been gradually re-homed in like for like accommodation.

But is that the point? Does that even matter?

I place the 2 sides of the argument in your proven capable hands!

WHAT SAY YOU?!

1. Sharrup The Ed! These people need homes. That’s all that matters. Doesn’t matter where.

2. Hold it right there The Ed! The Residents in Camp 2 have a point why should they now have to bear the brunt of the council and the governments mistake? This is not what they paid for.

Hit the comments and fix the world!

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39 thoughts on “Not MY Neighbour!

  1. I will belatedly go for 1. This whole issue was badly mishandled. And if they can’t find available empty fire-proof social housing at the ready, so be it. I also suggest Ms May(be) lodge an entire family at 10 Downing st. I’m sure there is plenty of space. Even better, Mr Boris (Judas) Johnson esq. Should immediately surrender his government issued flat to house ten families. Again I’m sure there is plenty of space. Extend that to all cabinet members. 🙂

  2. I can understand for safety reasons why camp 2 wouldn’t want low income people living in their building. Not all but a lot of low income people sell drugs and steal for their money and camp 2 wouldn’t want to be around that.

    On the other hand, They need to chill out and let these people move in. They just had something tragic happen to them, something that can happen to anyone even them. If I understand correctly, they will be staying in the luxury place until the other apartments nearby are built? If that’s the case, then what’s the issue? They won’t be there for long and for being in the same neighborhood, again I can see the issue when it comes to crime but no matter where one lives, there is crime. I think they need to get off their high horse and just chill.

    1. I understood it to be a permanent solution tjt072 and the nearby apartments are the ones they are moving into as they are purpose built social housing. But yeah all the things you say about the concerns are understandable.

  3. I remember reading an article in the metro or the evening standard (one of the two on my commute) where they interviewed those in camp 2. My immediate reaction after reading it was disgust and I hoped that they are right and their luxury housing prices fell to match their lack of compassion for others. Regardless of whether RBKC bought the housing to home those from Grenfell or not it, the properties were already earmarked as social housing/affordable housing. So camp 2 would have had to live among some form ‘riff-raff’ anyway, who are unlikely to have access to the luxurious extras anyway. Why not their neighbours (albeit the other side of K&C) who have lost everything? Better still, do not use this tragedy as an opportunity for social cleansing, which is what usually happens especially with inner/central London councils.

    1. Yeah, being a Brit you get the whole nuance of social housing in this case which I didn’t necessarily labour over too much for my US visitors. Indeed they would have had the ‘riffs’ there anyway.
      It was interesting to see how the papers baited people though with pics of the luxury apartments and amenities that the Grenfell folk were not going to get access to anyway! This nebulous reporting could account for much of the reaction from Camp 2.

  4. It’s almost the same argument about taking in refugees in the US (or keeping the 11 million undocumented workers). I have spoken with people who were opposed of accepting more for fear of terrorism. When it comes to undocumented workers they feel that they are a burden to society. When I disagreed, someone told me why don’t I take in a refugee to my house. I thought about it and the truth is I am actually willing to foster a refugee family in to my home.

    So going back to your post, I can see the reason why camp 2 aren’t comfortable with having camp 1 in their turf. It’s mostly fear. Fear of theft or other worldly crimes because of course those only happen in poor neighborhoods or are only committed by poor people! 🙄 And also humans are mostly selfish about their material possessions and feel that what they worked hard for must only be shared by people who equally work hard (i.e rich must only mingle with the rich). Even when someone poor works harder, they are not seen as hard worker because they have nothing to show.

    Anyway, if camp 1 isn’t exactly in camp2’s building, but just near, and if it’s only temporary then why not allow them to live there? But if they are permanently housing them there, then putting myself in camp 2’s shoes, yes it could be a problem. Because our society, no matter what country you live, doesn’t allow the mingling of poor and rich. That’s our reality.

    1. Yeah it’s permanent. I suspect we will never change the fundamental behaviour of humans.
      It’s weird the whole terrorism thing. I understand the need to feel secure in your country and yet homeland shootings apparently make up larger numbers of deaths than terrorism and yet for a lot that is somehow better or overlooked.
      And are the undocumented as much of a burden as rich people/companies not paying their taxes or committing other types of fraud or fiscal evasion? It would be interesting to compare the numbers.

  5. It is very difficult. For me the issue wouldn’t be the people (I’ve been around long enough now to know that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover) but the money issue would irk me. If I paid a vast some of money to secure luxury and exclusivity then I would be put out that others were getting it for free. But I assume that this isn’t a long-term solution and we can all afford to be charitable while others get back on their feet.

    1. Nope! it’s a permanent solution bum-rushed out there to counteract the negative reaction towards Theresa May and the government for their lack of response.
      There was probably a solution that didn’t wind people up and catered for your last sentence but they didn’t have to time or inclination to find it.

      1. Well that does change things. If my financial investment is being compromised by the governments vote-saving action (not that it will help, I sense) then I’d be seeing my lawyer about suing for compensation.

  6. I’m squarely in the people-need-homes camp, but the questions are larger than this. There isn’t enough social housing–one government after another has been selling it off. And the local council’s been doing its damnedest to further gentrify the area by pushing the poor out of the neighborhood–a neighborhood they’ve lived in longer than their richer neighbors. The comfortable will never feel completely safe in their comforts while the world is built on such sharp inequalities.

    1. Hey! I’m not following you Alice! That’s one large rabbit hole! Issues are rarely as black and white as I poise them, but in this case you’d focus on the ‘people-need-homes’ short term version. I suspect we’ll all be dead before any gov tries to resolve the issues created by selling London to the highest bidder.

  7. 1) Currently, any news shy of the daily traffic report out of London is getting play on this side of the Atlantic, so yes, it made our news the day it happened, and I am so very sorry for all those affected.
    2) It seems to me the relocation to the otherwise undersold apartments is a pretty clever fix under the circumstances. It might not be perfect, nor would I expect it to be permanent, but it is much better than tossing people out onto the streets for something outside of their control.

    1. It is permanent Allie hence the disgruntled existing residents. But yeah no one wants to see them out on the streets which is pretty much what the gov allowed for up to a week after the event.

  8. Lol, this is such a huge controversy isn’t it?

    Well, i feel that if the government can afford to buy up such expensive luxury apartments, then, to even things out, for the peeps that pay a fortune for that kind of living, that they should now also be given the gift of rent/mortgage free living in that apartment block, like their neighbours have. That seems fair to me.

    It’s indeed a tragedy that so many have suffered, (govts fault) so the govt, thought that if they put the survivors into luxury accommodation, they’d look good and caring. Like that would make these people, who’ve suffered such loss, feel better about the deaths of their children, parents, friends, family. But here’s the rub;

    No luxury apartment is going to bring back the dead, ease their pain, or magically put things right.

    Shit happens. Not nice, horrifying, but it happens. There’s simply no way to ‘ fix’ what happened, and this is when the saying ‘money doesn’t buy happiness ‘ has never rung more true.

    So to the government, while you’re throwing money around, to make yourselves look good, all the while cutting the poors benefits, please throw the same amounts into the NHS, pay the nurses who help save lives, more, and up the paltry benefits you give to those who either cannot work, due to illness or otherwise. Like the good, caring government you are, PAY the entire rental for people who can’t afford to.

    After all, the government certainly has the funds, to make all men equal.

      1. I know right? What a load of bullshit! I like the fact that poor people get to have a decent place to live, as they’re not aliens, simply poor. BUT, what about the others? and mostly, what about funding the bloody NHS? where mental illness is steadily on the rise and they’re employing second rate psychiatrists, coz they won’t pay them enough! It’s disgusting…and you’re right, of course there’s no ‘money tree’, the tree lies in her backyard, and gets plucked everyday to meet all their WANTS and desires and they employ someone at HUGE cost, to make sure it keeps producing masses amounts of money for them of course! Bastard crooks. x x

  9. I think that camp 2 has a point in that if they did pay a premium part of the gub’mint’s responsibility is to compensate them for the loss of value. I hope that the majority are humane and respect that these people became homeless through no fault of their own and welcome them graciously regardless of what is neither more nor less than theft on the part of the gub’mint

  10. Hmmmn the haves and have not picture… Well camp 1 & Camp 2 both have rights o believe. I mean it is not always easy taking in a needy person in every day life. It is inconvenient and comes with some sacrifice. But sometimes again putting ourselves in the helpless person’s shoes helps to put things in perspective. That fire incident could have happened to anyone in camp two. In the end life is not always about our comfort or how much we spent to get that comfort. Life and everything we have and own I believe are gifts and it only matters when you are Still breathing. Six feet below and your possessions goes to someone else. So again may we all be able to be patient with our needy neighbors including yours sincerely… Myself… Sometimes I am not patient with the helpless & needy I meet. Sometimes we are just too afraid to help for fear of getting hurt.

    1. Love it. That’s the key isn’t it? Those that sit in ivory towers looking down on the needy often forget how one incident can flip the switch and they would soon see things from the other side. Good. My readers are educating me today! 🙂

  11. Wow, big question and like everything in life you’ll get different points of view even though there are two options. There are no guarantees in life. You can work hard, save, plan and be careful and stuff you don’t like will still happen. Tragedy can strike and in like-minded countries (AUSCANUKUS) I would hope authorities have compassion for those left with nought. I appreciate the concerns and anger of camp 2 but I think the homeless need homes and shouldn’t be left homeless.

    1. Like another commenter who had a slightly opposing view I always enjoy your answers cos they’re honest and thought out Love it. Is ‘AUSCANUKUS’ a thing? I get what it means but never heard of it.

      I also liked the challenge of putting myself in Camp 1 for a bit in my head and wondering how I would feel about Camp 2’s objections because you are sooo right, our (relatively) comfy positions can flip at any moment.

      1. Yes, well in my line of work in government, AUSCANUKUS is a thing.
        I found your questions good to challenge just what I might think. My first thought is to compassion for those left homeless, but having been exposed to fiscally conservative people in an essentially capitalist society, I can certainly see camp 2’s concern, but should that concern override helping people, some of whom have experienced death of loved ones and friends as well as loss of all worldly possessions.

      2. I dunno! I’ve been in versions of both camps and can be swayed! I expect there is a middle ground which requires intelligence and nuance which is uncommon in government bodies these days…if ever.

  12. They need homes and I think the perfect location would be in the neighborhoods where the government employees who mucked things up live. There, problem solved. 😉

  13. So sad. I would not be comfortable sharing with poor people. I like to be with people like myself. I have recently visited L A CA and for two nights we were in an old hotel. We were there two nights before we moved to a better place. We were very on edge while we were there. I know that sounds terrible but most of us are like that.

    1. I think it sounds real. I think sometimes that I get answers that people think they ought to say as opposed to their real truth – which is fine of course – people must do and say what they wish. But I must admit to having more of a soft spot for the truthsayers over the ‘soothe’ sayers! Thanks dtbrents!

      1. I am really just tired of the systems that want socialized government. The US is in so much debt it will never be able to pay it off and yet people are still asking for more.

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