It's time to commit to #HomesForBritain

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 - 1:57pm

Today’s Homes for Britain Rally presents a simple, clear message to all political parties: to commit to end the housing crisis within a generation. Nowhere will the impact of this be more keenly felt than in the single homelessness sector.

Photograph: homesforbritain.org.uk

One of the most striking findings in our latest Annual Review of single homelessness support in England is the silting up of services with people who are ready to live independently, but unable to because there is no suitable accommodation to move into.

25% of people living in homelessness services are in this position – and more than a quarter of them have been waiting for more than six months.

Of course as a sector, we’re first to flag that homelessness is about far more than not having a home. There are always reasons that cause someone to become homeless – often multiple complex issues that cannot be addressed overnight.

But for the sector to be fully effective – to maintain the momentum of supporting people into independence when they are ready, we need a supply of truly affordable accommodation for people to move into. Without it, the current situation is inevitable: thousands of people who are ready for independence are stuck in supported accommodation, potentially blocking others not in the system from getting the help they need.

And of course the lack of affordable housing and insecurity in the private rented sector has already been highlighted as an increasing cause of homelessness. Termination of private tenancies accounts for 29% of households becoming homeless – a rate that has doubled since 2010.

That’s why the national Homes for Britain campaign is crucial to raising awareness and support from politicians, and across the homelessness and housing sectors, to ensure that a lack of housing supply stops being the barrier that keeps someone homeless.

More homes and stronger rights for tenants

In our Manifesto we highlighted the problems the lack of affordable housing presents to tackling homelessness effectively.

It’s partly about supply and affordability. It’s also about suitability – ensuring that people at the lowest end of the housing market aren’t left with poor quality accommodation and little option but to take it. The housing market is simply not working for too many people, particularly the poorest in society. We need tougher measures to redress this.

In our Manifesto we set out four clear actions for the next government to ensure that there are housing options for everyone, where having a decent place to live is not beyond the reach of the poorest and most vulnerable people.

  • A stronger commitment in all future house-building programmes to increase sub-market level housing supply across all tenures.
  • Improving the quality and security of tenure in the private rented sector, with stronger expectations for landlords, adequate housing advice for tenants, and use of accreditation and selective licensing schemes. In addition, tenancy lengths must be extended, to help achieve housing stability.
  • Provide leadership and resources to Local Authorities and the voluntary sector so they can develop new ways to invest in accommodation, such as Housing First for people moving off the streets and shared living options for young people.
  • Finally, we call on the next government to back the Homes for Britain campaign to end the housing crisis within a generation - and to publish a long-term plan for achieving this within one year of taking office.

Homes for Britain Rally

Today is a key date in the Homes for Britain campaign, as 2,500 of us gather in Westminster for the Homes for Britain Rally. It will bring together homelessness and housing campaigners, private developers, private landlords and politicians around a single goal – to end the housing crisis within a generation.

It is a clear message that we should all back.

Talk To Us

Jacqui McCluskey

Jacqui McCluskey

Director of policy and communications

Jacqui leads the externally focused policy and communications functions of Homeless Link, as well as line managing the policy director of the MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) Coalition with Clinks, DrugScope and Mind.

Telephone: 020 7840 4429
Email: jacqui.mccluskey@homelesslink.org.uk
Twitter: @JacMcCluskey