Kwajo Tweneboa – Britain’s housing hero

Issue 1536

Kwajo Tweneboa – Britain’s housing hero

Our leaders are not demonstrating great leadership skills. As the hunt is on for another Prime Minister, the hopefuls could do with taking a lesson from Kwajo Tweneboa’s book.

In just 18 months, Kwajo has gone from desperate social housing tenant to the most important housing campaigner in the country. And he’s only just turned 24.

Unlike many politicians, his work and dedication come from real-life experiences. He and his two sisters cared for his terminally ill father Kwaku Robert Tweneboa in a squalid housing association flat infested with files, cockroaches, and mice in south London, before his dad died in January 2020. 

Kwajo complained to landlord Clarion about the disrepair for more than a year with no success. So he turned to social media to name and shame them. After it went viral, the home was fixed.

Then he turned his attention to his neighbours’ homes. Now he is the most prominent housing activist in the country – and the country needs him. Around 13 per cent – just over 500,000 – of social rented homes in England are estimated to be non-decent as defined by the government, compared to 21 per cent of private rented homes. The most recent official statistics in Scotland show 19 per cent of all dwellings are in a state of urgent disrepair. In Wales, almost 80 per cent of social landlords reported they are dealing with disrepair claims, according to a Welsh government survey.

“The condition my father was living in was completely unacceptable for anyone,” Kwajo tells us. “Not even animals should be living in those sorts of conditions. But unfortunately, he was and that’s been my burning motivation.”

Also inside

  • Eddie Redmayne explains how his new role as a serial killer exposed critical flaws in the healthcare system
  • We launch our Kids Christmas Cover Competition – so if you know a young creative, make sure they get involved!
  • Big Issue founder John Bird says a strategy to tackle the causes of poverty has to wait while we’re knee deep in the consequences
  • Iconic actor Jeff Bridges tells us how he dealt with cancer and Covid simultaneously: “I was dancing with my life and my mortality”
  • And vendor Auras describes how selling the magazine helps support their family

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