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The Observer: "Decent homes for all… Has the social housing dream died?"

"In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is clear that Britain’s social housing is in crisis. As a new film looks at the legacy of Thatcher’s right-to-buy, Rowan Moore asks whether the postwar housing ideal can be revived. Below: David Harewood, Kerry Hudson and others on their experiences of council estate living"

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"Before catastrophe hit Grenfell Tower, it had been planned to publish this feature last weekend. Then, in the immediate aftermath, it was clear that this would be the wrong thing to do, to talk about related but not-identical issues of public housing. It would have been at once too close to the news about Grenfell and not close enough. Now, although the horror is still raw and much about it is still unknown, it has also become clear that Grenfell exposes in the harshest possible way questions of the current state of social housing, about the accessibility, affordability and quality of homes, and their impact on people's lives.

"As is reported today, research by Shelter shows that a million households are at risk of homelessness unless a freeze on housing benefit is lifted.

"Absurdly, local authorities are now having to pay high rents to house people in homes the councils once owned.

"These questions, which are the subject of the new documentary Dispossession: The Great Housing Swindle, were already urgent. The election, with its upending of Conservative complacencies and old assumptions, increases the chances that the issues will be addressed with at least some of the radicalism they require. Given the newfound power of the youth vote, the group worst affected by the housing crisis, a large electoral prize awaits the party who can get this subject right. Dispossession offers few solutions, but it adds to the buildup of anger on the subject, without which nothing will change."

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