Something that Kate Henderson, chief executive of Britain’s National Housing Federation, said about inclusiveness and public housing, brought to mind something I’ve thought about as a parent.
You don’t want your children playing or sharing time with poor kids; not because they are “poor” per se, but because of the character kit that comes with being poor, and the family home life, the existential paradigm, that accompanies poverty.
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, pauses at the main entrance to Arlington, a homeless hostel, conference centre, training space and community area in central London. Whatever the activity for which they are coming, everyone enters the building through this single front door. For Henderson, this is how all housing projects should be: open, inclusive and with a clear public purpose.
“We have a proud history in this country of people living side by side,” she says.
So how does she feel about the growing evidence of people living in homes managed by housing associations being segregated from other residents in new housing developments, following the shocking revelations that children in one development were not allowed to share a playground? Henderson is adamant that “something is going seriously wrong if our planning system is unable to prevent this type of segregation”.
I certainly have nothing “against” poor children, but I have something against the specific mindset of poverty-stricken parents that led them to elect a tenuous, illogical co-existence of poverty and parenthood. The two shall not meet and if you, as an adult, consciously create the dynamic from lust, I do not respect you, nor your household.
The children are the sad beneficiaries of this parental myopia, unfortunately.
But who wants their children playing with other children who will bring fledgling dysfunction to the playground, and all the attendant family drama and disunion that accompanies it?
Sorry to say, but “social segregation” is a necessary component to self-preservation and perpetuation of your familial culture.
But people like Kate Henderson are too fond of, too invested in, bland platitudes to realize life is not the Hollywood script they use as a template for human society.