It’s #HousingDay today – a national campaign that, this year, focusses on challenging the stigma surrounding social housing.
I’ve lived in social housing myself – for about five years when I was in my late teens/early twenties on North Hull Estate. It was the house that my boyfriend’s parents grew up in, his granddad lived out his final years there and my then-boyfriend moved in when his granddad was taken ill.
I need to be honest here. I had a comfortable upbringing – in the sticks. I didn’t want for anything – other than for my dad to take the lock off the phone and a more regular bus service to the city. So I fled village life when I was 17 and moved into a one bed flat with a school friend in the Spring Bank area, then slept on a mattress on a floor in a living room for six months with two other friends in a two-bed flat down the road. I worked part time at a print company and did my A Levels part time at college. For a 17 year old this was the bloody life! I was surrounded by students, we partied a lot, we had people round every day – it was the lifestyle my village-dwelling teenage self had dreamed of.
Then I moved into North Hull Estate and things began to change. I saw real life. The difficult challenges that came with it. And the community that supported one another.