A while ago, in August of last year to be precise, I read the article ‘Out of Our League‘ by Alistair McIntosh, CEO of HQN.
Society, including the housing sector, has a tendency to use words like ‘vulnerable’ as an umbrella term, and to use phrases like ‘giving a voice’ when talking about pepole who for some reason or another have been placed in a position of less power, by others, potentially them.
This article explores what the use of these phrases implies and which power imbalances it creates and upholds. It argues that the sector should stop using language like this and works towards an inclusive language that doesn’t contribute to maintaining power imbalances and stigmatising perceptions.
ClwydAlyn is a housing association in Wales whose mission is all about addressing poverty. This means that they focus time and resources on supporting tenants that might be struggling with income poverty, fuel poverty or food poverty.
With the impact of Covid19 now unfolding, this mission has become even more vital.
This article has been shared in response to comments to an earlier article we published on the 15th of November 2020, ‘Letter to My Landlord’.
These comments were criticising the original author’s view of private landlords as not being realistic or fair, dismissing them as a ‘disgruntled’ tenant.
This article addresses thes coments.
Recently, things have become just a bit too much. The pandemic, changes to planning laws, evictions can go ahead again, and wishy washy statements about funding for retrofit of the existing housing stock and building more social housing.
An anonymous contributer decided to write a letter to their landlord, addressing issues that other private renting tenants might recognise.
We use language every day, in everything we do. Whether it’s spoken, written, signed or even drawn. It’s how we communicate, and, as recipients get an idea of what people think of us. That’s why language matters in social housing.