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Screening of Push for Challenge Poverty Week

Scottish Story Telling Centre, situated in the High Street, Edinburgh, on Monday 7 October at 18:30.

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As part of its contribution to #ChallengePovertyWeek SFHA, together with Shelter Scotland and Oxfam Scotland, is hosting a screening of Push, described by the Guardian as “a whirlwind tour of rocketing rents and personal tragedy”.

The film, first premiered in Scotland at Take One Action Film Festival, follows UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, as she investigates the causes behind rocketing rents and the threat to affordable housing across the globe. She wants to confront the very idea of what the experts call the “financialisation” of the housing market, saying in the film: “There’s a huge difference between housing as a commodity and gold as a commodity”.

In Harlem, New York, Leilani meets a man who spends 90% of his income on a flat. Soon, the two-bedroom will cost $3,600 per month. His 1,700-unit housing project has just been bought by a huge private equity fund. In Barcelona, Ahmed and his family are the last left in their building where all other apartments are sealed off. The new owner has been pushing all their neighbours out. In London, people talk about ‘bank boxes in the sky’; new condo buildings and flats sold on international fairs as investment pieces. Now many apartments in these shiny new buildings stand empty.

This film exposes the drivers behind housing wealth inequality: the corporations who are taking over our cities; the concentration of ownership in fewer and fewer hands; the tax havens and the tax dodging.

Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive, said: “Having a home that is affordable, comfortable and safe should be a basic human right, yet all too often other factors come into play to undermine our ability to meet that ambition.

Housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland are dedicated to honouring that right and strive to provide affordable places that people are proud to call home. It is why we are delighted to support Challenge Poverty Week to highlight what our members do year in, year out, and from generation to generation, to provide the people of Scotland with the homes they need and deserve.”

Gordon MacRae, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland, said:

“In challenge poverty, week it’s important to highlight that the impact of the housing emergency is often what tips a lot of people into poverty.

“The experience of the last 40 years is that, when homes are regarded as a commodity to be bought, and sold to the highest bidders, too many will be denied their right to a home and locked out.

“Right now, we are seeing social housing waiting lists and homelessness rising. While Scotland is turning a corner, with the biggest expansion of social housing since the 1970s underway, this is only the beginning of what is needed to make up for four decades of failing to invest in secure social homes. We must keep up momentum if we are going to stop homelessness.”

Rhiannon Sims, Research and Policy Officer at Oxfam, said:

“This isn’t just about housing, it is about inequality. Globally, people are deprived of homes because, increasingly, housing is seen as something to earn money from. Wealth is locked into property which, if properly taxed, could be used to pay for essential public services that provide a lifeline for people in poverty.

“It is not right that a third of households in Scotland do not own their own home, while the rest of the population holds more than £200 billion in housing wealth between them.”

Visit the SFHA website to book your place.

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