Progress Online | We can end UK homelessness by 2030

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03 August 2015

We can end UK homelessness by 2030

Martin Edobor and Sam Stopp

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homelessness

Homelessness continues to rise and the government’s policy on housing and the welfare cap will exacerbate the situation. We are not building enough social or affordable homes, rights for those in the private rented sector are weak and landlords continue to act with impunity. This is contributing to an unstable housing sector, leaving millions of individuals and families to live with uncertainty, only a monthly rent away from being evicted onto the streets.

Due to the differences in the process of recording between national governments of the four United Kingdom nations, there are no official national figures for how many people are homeless. Local authority statistics on the number of people defined as statutory homeless or seeking emergency accommodation do, however, provide useful context. Yet, it is likely that these statistics underestimate the severity of the problem, and the recorded homelessness level is just the tip of the iceberg.

Homelessness is not simply about sleeping rough on the streets; the picture is more complex. Many people live in temporary accommodation as they have no other options available, often surviving in poor quality housing or overcrowded accommodation. People end up in this situation for a range of reasons, from the rising cost of short-term private tenancies which provide little security, to being unable to have a steady income due to wider social issues such as substance misuses or mental health problems.

The housing crisis is not purely a symptom of social ills or down to personal choices. Rouge-landlords, lack of affordable housing and limited options available to local authorities have all contributed to the rise of homelessness. We believe that these issues can and should be corrected through government policy.

‘The labour campaign to end homelessness’ was born out of frustration with government policy. Its purpose is ambitious, but simple. To end UK homelessness by 2030. As a first step towards this, we hope to persuade the Labour party to include our aim as a pledge in their 2020 manifesto.

In addition to this the campaign, will provide a forum for Labour party members discuss and debate ways in which we can tackle homelessness.

We believe that the tragedy of rising homelessness across the UK is a blight which no progressive party can ignore. Whenever Labour governments have been in power, homelessness has fallen. But we believe that the next Labour government must go further and ultimately ensure that every British citizen not only has a roof over their head but a home of their own.

If you are a Labour party member or supporter and you share our simple aim, we hope you can join our campaign and we welcome your support.

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Martin Edobor is vice-chair of the Young Fabians and Sam Stopp is a councillor in the London borough of Brent. They are co-founders, Labour Campaign to End Homelessness.

 

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