We were asked to discuss the idea of a continuation of an eviction ban on Newstalk the other week. The article they wrote and the radio segment are here. The issue with many types of ‘bans’ or ‘prohibitions’ is that they don’t work. Some we do in spite of this such as the prohibition on hard drugs like heroin, yet despite this drugs are regularly available in prisons in most of the same countries which have these bans, and I think we can all agree that prisons are one of the most controlled environments in civil society.
The problem of this when it comes to housing is that you could then have people who are expecting to move into a house or who want to sell a house and they inadvertently become victims of policy, these are real people living real lives and in taking sides on the side of the person who is renting a home we forget about them with the defense of ‘what about homelessness’.
The good news is that most of the people who move out of a rental home, even when it’s being sold, don’t end up homeless so there isn’t a direct 1 to 1 connection in this, second is that the solution isn’t to ban evictions, its to ensure that the systems we put in place and pay for across society are working, such as homeless prevention and homeless alleviation services.
It’s really compelling to agree with such a short sighted solution because it makes you feel like you are on the side of justice, but this really isn’t the case, as frustrating as it is, we simply need more homes and to allow the services we have established to deal with homelessness as and where it arises.