Stories from social housing tenants

Tenants from across the UK, supported by numerous organisations worked with academics and trade bodies in housing, to research the problem of stereotyping social housing tenants.

We want to challenge the way the public think about social housing tenants and tackle the stigma associated with living in social housing.

Read about the different stories from social housing tenants below. If you want to share you story, contact us.

May Bareham

Colchester Borough Homes

May Bareham is 104 years old and has lived in Harrison Court, a sheltered housing scheme, for 28 years. She was born in Colchester and lived and worked there most of her life. She has always been an active member of the local social and community scene, and until recently was the organiser of an Over 60s activities club. When asked what the secret to such a healthy long life was, she replied “to laugh often… and a tot of whiskey!”

Charlotte Heys

Stockport Homes

Charlotte Heys unlocked the door to her new house with little more than a cot for her son and a bed. She wanted to find a way to furnish it which was affordable but would create a safe haven. The desire led her to the Furniture Station, an initiative which offers a range of affordable used furniture. She worked tirelessly through the night to give old furniture a new lease of life.

Saleha Jafrin

Tower Hamlet Homes

Saleha Jafrin grew up on the Clichy Estate in Tower Hamlets and is Chair of the community food garden on the estate. She worked with neighbours to turn a misused park into the Clichy Rupali garden, where they have 10 raised beds for growing vegetables and herbs.

Graham Giles – Dame Gracy

Northwards Housing

Graham Giles is a retired drag queen, known as Dame Gracy, and lives in Victoria Square (a retirement housing complex for the over 60s). He is a founding member of the Manchester Mardi Gras, now known as the annual Pride Event. He attends every year, still dresses up on special occasions and has raised thousands of pounds for charity by performing in drag. He is also a supporter of Northwards’ Retired no Expired campaign which celebrates North Manchester’s most inspiring pensioners.

Angel and Miller Dieckvoss

Nottingham City Homes

Made homeless by arsonists, Angel was previously living in a homeless hostel, and then temporary accommodation until the birth of her son Jacob Christopher (known as Miller). Soon after his birth in 2001 they moved into their current home with Nottingham City Homes. Today Angel is a full-time residential social worker, working with young people with emotional and behavioral needs. Miller is studying for his GCSEs this year and hopes to continue his studies at sixth form.

Stuart Ralphson

Cornwall Housing

Thirty-four-year-old Stuart lives at Hendra Park, a supported housing scheme in Cornwall for residents with learning difficulties. Moving into his own studio apartment gave Stuart the chance to have some real independence, with the security of a support worker on site to assist. Recently, Stuart took part in a painting activity and the art produced now hangs on the walls of the scheme.

Julie Berry

Berneslai Homes

Julie’s parents moved into their home in 1937, she was born there in 1944, and has lived there ever since. She has always been involved in the community and has a long involvement with Cudworth Tenants and Residents Association. She says, “People here are so good, they’ve always been like members of my family. My house means the world to me and I couldn’t ever leave.”

Geoff Moore

Berneslai Homes

Geoff had a busy and varied working life, working as a miner, ice-cream man, jeweler and roofer, and served 9 years in the army. Following a heart attack in 2000, Geoff moved into a bungalow in Saville Court where he lives with his wife. There is a strong community at the sheltered housing scheme; as he says “This isn’t an old people’s home as some people might think. It is a vibrant and inclusive community.”

Jean Harrington

Colchester Borough Homes

Jean lives at Greenfield Houses, a small group of flats with communal gardens. She volunteers as a Quality Assurance Advisor with Colchester Borough Homes, working alongside the Community Caretaking Team to ensure communal arears meet high standards and local communities become cleaner, greener and safer.

John and Lillian Goldstraw

Stockport Homes

John and Lillian recently moved into accommodation adapted for Lillian’s mobility needs by Stockport Homes. To celebrate moving into their new home, John and Lillian hosted a garden party, inviting the whole street to attend.
Their communal garden – shared by four other families – is a real source of pride. By turning the garden into a social focal point, John and Lillian ensure that everyone in the street has a chance to get to know each other.

Alfred Smith

South Essex Homes

Ninety-six-year-old Alfred was decorated with the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest military award, in 2015 to recognise the selfless acts of heroism and determination he undertook during the Second World War. Called up in 1939, he worked in the Royal Army Services Corp to supply the frontline in France with food, ammunition and petrol. Rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, Alfred continued his service with the army until he received shrapnel injuries, and – after recovery – became a driver.
After leaving the army, Alfred worked as a driving instructor for 40 years. Married to his sweetheart Betty for 61 years until he was widowed, Alfred has 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. He says, “I consider myself very lucky as I had wonderful adoptive parents, a loving marriage and I am now blessed with a close-knit family who take good care of me.”

Alvine Yolande Dongmo-Noumey

Wolverhampton Homes

Alvine is a full-time volunteer and Chairperson of the Migrant Empowerment Group in Wolverhampton. The group helps refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to feel welcomed in the city. Just some of the activities Alvine organises include: a Christmas party for asylum seeker families, charity gift collections for families struggling to afford a meal, and regular sewing, knitting and chat events. Her events attract hundreds of residents of all nationalities together.