Throughout the run-up to the general election, Shelter campaigned for the incoming government to build more genuinely affordable homes. We’ve travelled up and down the country to collect petition signatures and along the way have heard heart breaking stories from people who’ve been affected by the housing crisis.
Two of those people are Lou and Natalie, who handed in our petition in to Number 10 Downing Street yesterday. They’re both mothers who have experienced homelessness and terrible renting conditions. After receiving support from Shelter, they too joined our campaign for affordable homes.
As well as delivering the petition to Downing Street, we took a giant house-warming card to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Housing and Planning. The house shape on the front of the card was made up of thousands of names on the petition. The card was huge, but then again so is the housing crisis…
We’ve been campaigning for the government to build more affordable homes for years, but our hardest work starts now. If we’ve got any hope of fixing the housing crisis, we’re going to have to keep the pressure up and make sure that the new government builds the affordable homes that we desperately need. And we won’t stop campaigning until those homes are built.
The need for affordable housing is at its most desperate; millions of people are on waiting lists and even more are trapped in expensive private renting where they can’t afford to pay the rent and feed their family at the same time. The affordable housing programme is their best shot at ever getting a decent, stable home they can afford, and it’s something we’ll be campaigning on in the near future.
Over the coming months, we’ll be calling on the government to:
Protect the affordable housing programme.
The affordable housing programme funds 75% of our affordable homes, yet it was cut by 60% in 2010. It’s rumored that this may be cut further; if this is the case, our affordable housing shortage is set to get worse, and so we’ll also be fighting any proposed cuts to this programme. In fact, we’ll be calling for the government to increase funding for affordable housing: boosting it by just £1.2bn a year would make a significant difference to the lives of millions of working people, and kick-start a real boom in house building.
Provide stable and decent private renting.
The new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was right when he asked “How can a family put down roots if they’re on six months’ notice to quit on a buy-to-let?” The government should make laws that encourage landlords to offer five year tenancies, and support councils to make sure all homes are decent and safe.
Maintain a strong housing safety net.
Until everyone has an affordable home, we need a safety net that helps people facing homelessness to get back on their feet. The housing safety net provides vital support to the people who need it most, including financial assistance for working families who struggle to meet high rental costs. If we have any hope of ending homelessness, the safety net must not be cut any further.
Our campaigning won’t stop until the housing crisis does, and until then, we’ll need all the support we can get. So join us as a campaigner now.