Tenants across Derby are preparing to travel to the House of Commons today, where they will meet with their MPs for the launch of a new campaign – Benefit to Society. The campaign aims to change public perceptions about who lives in social housing.

A national survey showed that more than 90% of social housing tenants feel they are portrayed in a negative way. Now they are asking their elected representatives to take action.

MPs are being asked by tenants to sign up to an online pledge and to meet with them at the campaign launch.

Maria Murphy, Managing Director of Derby Homes, said:

Too often, we’re presented with a picture tenants living in social housing – that they’re lazy, or that they don’t care about the communities they live in. But when you work with tenants every day, you know that the opposite is true.

I’ve had the privilege of working with people who live in Derby Homes’ properties who are incredibly involved. They give up their time to support their neighbourhoods, they volunteer within their communities, and they work directly with us provide a critical eye and help us improve our services. And that’s just the ones we know of directly. It’s about time that social housing tenants were recognised for the contribution they make to their communities, and to society as a whole.

Campaign organiser and Director of Tpas (Tenant Engagement experts), Leslie Channon says;

We know that 70% of people living in social housing are in work or retired. Only 7% are unemployed. The remainder of people are unable to work because they are carers or due to disability. Yet if you believed the media portrayal and the awful language used about where people live like ‘sink estates’ you would have a very different and biased view. Benefit to Society is about setting the record straight.

The launch event will also see the unveiling of new research carried out by Professor Anne Power of the LSE. This suggests that the reduction in social housing from around 30% of the country’s housing stock to around 17%, has had a negative impact on the wider public perception of who lives in social housing. The assumption is often that it’s a tenure of last choice. However, analysis of qualitative data from tenants shows that the reality is that social housing provides good quality homes for a wide range of people.

Today also sees the launch of a social media campaign aiming to give profile to some of the real and untold stories of social housing tenants.

For more information contact:

Sophie Reynolds, Customer Communications Officer