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How to Get a Council House

How to Get a Council House

Thu Aug 15, 9-10pm, C4

By Yolanda Zappaterra
Episode three
The maths is simple, and simply depressing. There are 4.5m more people trying to get into council housing than there are places. Less simple, but equally depressing, are the stories of some of those people, and the details of the difficulties faced by the council in trying to help them.

Naomi, who woke to find her ex-partner’s hands round her throat, is trying to find a safe place for herself and her two young children. The landlord of the only suitable private accommodation available to the council wants a £2,000 cash payment, which the council can’t pay. So Naomi’s only option is a B&B.

Alex has cerebral palsy and has been brought in by his father, who is evicting him and determined to leave the housing office without him. Talking him down from this position is the immediate priority, but in the long term, what does the council do about this clear cry for help?

There are some happy endings, some sad endings, but on the whole the picture that this three-parter has painted of twenty-first century Britain is actually less depressing than you might expect: a country trying hard to find solutions to some horrendous problems, using an increasingly frayed and flimsy safety net, but still, a safety net.

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