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Tenants’ views on the experience and impact of stigma 03/10/2019 Labelled as Scrutiny, Tenants

The 'See the Person'Campaign  has launched a report into research that shows around eight out of ten people who rent their home from a council or housing association have experienced negative stereotypes about tenants.


699 people who live in social housing took part in an online survey carried out by the 'See the Person' Campaign representatives. Participants were from across the country. The survey was undertaken in response to a request from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG).


The research found that most people who live in social housing have direct experience of negative stereotypes and stigma and that this has an impact on their lives and the lives of neighbours, family and friends.


The main source of this stigma were comments, assumptions and discriminatory attitudes experienced by those in the community and institutions. The media and politicians were also mentioned as common sources of stigma, but worryingly social housing landlords were also seen as a source.


The research findings highlight the impact of stigma at three levels:


  • Personal impact
  • Community impact
  • Societal impact


The report makes a number of recommendations to Government, politicians and to those who work in the media. But the report also makes three specific recommendations to social landlords:


  1. Accept that social landlords can sometimes be part of the problem and instead become part of the solution. Stop using language about "turning lives around" and statistics that perpetuate stereotypes.
  2. Work with staff to develop a relationship of mutual respect with tenants and challenge where there is inappropriate language or views about tenants.
  3. Get involved with the 'See the Person' Campaign which is developing a toolkit for landlords, by contacting


ARCH is a sponsor of the 'See the Person' Campaign and ARCH Tenant Group member Martyn Lund from Kettering Borough Council currently chairs the Campaign's Tenant Leadership Committee.

Speaking on the launch of the report, Martyn said:


"We are asking the Government, asking politicians, asking the media and asking social landlords to take action.


We've gathered evidence that people experience this locally: from neighbours, sometimes family and employers. This is on top of the stereotypes perpetuated by some parts of the media, by some politicians and by some landlords.

The impact of this is huge. It wears you down, it affects your mental health, your feelings of belonging and your dignity. Recent news has shown that it can lead to segregated neighbourhoods and even to intimidating behaviour against people.


I'm passionate about the 'See the Person' campaign because there is stigma everywhere you look. People are being put down for the place they live, which is just plain wrong. We need to see the person, not for where they live. Get to know them first before you judge them."


Read the full report: "The experience and impact of stigma of living in social housing: views of tenants across England 2019"

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