Blog by Joanne, private renter and Shelter campaigner from Bournemouth.
Joanne has recently been campaigning to end unfit housing. She wrote an open letter – signed by over 15,000 people – calling on the government to make sure that three crucial bills for tackling the housing emergency would be announced in the Queen’s Speech. Read Joanne’s blog below about how she got involved in the campaign and how it went.
After handing in my open letter to No. 10 Downing Street last Monday with my daughter Chloe, Oscar the dog and Shelter activists, I was absolutely over the moon to hear the good news the next day. Crucial changes needed to end the housing emergency had been announced by the government in the Queen’s Speech.
What an incredible experience it’s been! I had only just begun my journey as a housing campaigner a couple of months ago when I decided that I had finally had enough. After 15 years of renting from bad landlords, it felt like the right time to get involved with Shelter and be part of this campaign. I wanted to share my story and to show those in power that we’re not having it anymore. And I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved!
What we achieved
We succeeded in getting all three crucial bills to end unfit housing announced in the Queen’s Speech: The Renters’ Reform Bill; the Social Housing Regulation Bill; and the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which would see more social housing being built.
The Renters’ Reform Bill is especially important for renters like me. If done right, it would see the end of unfair, no-fault evictions and introduce a landlord register so that you can check who your landlord is before you move in. Both changes would make it much harder for landlords to ignore complaints and make renters’ lives a hell of a lot easier.
Shelter supporters are the best
I couldn’t have done this without Shelter’s brilliant supporters – so I just want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has been involved. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the number of people who signed and shared my open letter to the government. It shows just how unstoppable we can be when we come together to demand better.
So many of us are at our wits’ ends, living in unfit, insecure homes. We want things to change so that we can live in homes we love and feel secure in. And we want homelessness to be eradicated.
That strength of feeling across the country has been so stark throughout this campaign. I’m glad that I was able to use my voice to speak on behalf of so many of us at such a critical time.
Now we must hold them to account
But let me be clear, the job’s not done until the government gets to work on making these long-overdue changes a reality. Otherwise, they will remain just words on a page.
So, while I’ve been celebrating with Chloe and Oscar over the weekend and getting some well-needed rest in, the important work of holding the government to account for the commitments they’ve made awaits. I’m ready to continue fighting to end the housing emergency – are you with me?