Last month, over 4,000 people emailed members of the House of Lords asking them to champion our campaign to build more social housing through the Levelling Up Bill.
These emails and our briefings resulted in a good number of mentions about the importance of social housing during the first debate of the bill.
As the bill entered committee stage, we asked supporters to send postcards to lords with a message about why social housing is important to them and details of the amendments we’re calling for.
Over a thousand of you did. The variety of perspectives and expertise was so inspiring, we thought we’d share a few of these stories with you.
We can’t move women on to safe homes because there are none available.
“I work with abused women in refuges. We can’t move women on to safe homes because there are none available. This means we can’t free up emergency refuge spaces for other women. The unseen cost here is women and children having to live in abusive homes and possibly dying as a result.” – Sarah, refuge worker
“I work in Children’s social care & know the devastating impact of not enough social housing. People staying in abusive relationships because they have nowhere else to go. People staying in situations that aren’t healthy because it will be years before they are able to get support with housing, and if they leave without anything in place, they are deemed making themselves ‘intentionally homeless’ – and so they continue living in such difficult situations that impacts their children, their emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. These people are just like you and me – in fact they are us – we are just where we are through luck and the different opportunities we’ve had given to us. We need more social housing.” – Naomi, children’s social care worker
Social housing saved me and my children from being homeless after escaping a violent relationship.
“Social housing saved me and my children from being homeless after escaping a violent relationship. It gave me my own safe space and to get my life back on track and gave stability and security to us. To have a home where I can pay a real affordable rent, can get repairs done and the house is kept in a very good condition and where I can’t be kicked out at the whim of a private landlord is such a comfort to me as I now reach my 60s. I feel this is my home and what more could anyone want. There is a great need for more to be built.” – Elaine, lives in social housing
“Families living in overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation – this impacts children’s health and ability to reach developmental milestones in all areas of learning. Often overcrowded houses and affected by mould and poor plumbing which also affects children’s health physically e.g. respiratory infections. Families often come to the health visiting team asking for help with housing, it is one of the main issues facing vulnerable families.” – Katie, health worker
Disabled people are in homes which disable them further.
“I work in mental health and see more and more people admitted to hospital due to stressors of overcrowded homes, private rents which are unfit for habitation, homelessness and threat of homelessness, councils tightening their criteria for housing support. Disabled people are in homes which disable them further. There are fewer accessible services to help people with complex needs. Rising rents in the private sector mean fewer people can be supported in this direction and if they are, they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the rent if they tried to work. We need more social housing and more funding for local authorities to enable people to stay in their homes. The situation will continue to get worse, impacting health and social care, until society breaks completely.” – Maria, occupational therapist
“I work in a homelessness charity. The lack of social housing means that many of our clients end up moving on into the private rented sector, having to pay high rents and being on short term (6 month) tenancy agreements. These vulnerable adults need longer term social housing that would provide them with the stability to help them rebuild their lives.” – Simon, homeless charity worker
“As a housing support charity officer I see first-hand the increase in homelessness and the lack of quality affordable housing. There is a desperate need to provide affordable housing. Private tenancies are far beyond the reach of individuals on benefits and low incomes.” – Nigel, housing support officer
We know these stories will make the lords listen. We’ll be sending the postcards over the coming weeks as the Levelling Up Bill goes through the House of Lords.
Thank you to all of you who sent us your stories.