In this blog Beatrice Orchard, Head of Policy, Campaigns and Research explains what we’re doing to influence party manifestos and keep homelessness high profile during this general election campaign.
We should all have a safe place to call home.
Instead, rough sleeping has soared 165% since 2010 and thousands of families and individuals across Britain are stuck in emergency accommodation and sleeping on friends’ floors or sofas.
For many, homelessness is a death sentence. Let’s never forget that 726 people died while homeless in England and Wales in 2018.
At St Mungo’s, we don’t think this is acceptable and we’re certain the public doesn’t either. That’s why we’re working with five other homelessness charities ahead of the general election next month to call on every political party to commit to a plan to #EndHomelessness, and we’re encouraging everyone to join in.
The concern over rising homelessness hasn’t gone unnoticed by politicians on the campaign trail. Boris Johnson has called homelessness “a scourge of our society” and Jeremy Corbyn said rough sleeping was a “disgrace”. It’s a good start, but now we need to get them talking about the right solutions to ending all forms of homelessness.
At St Mungo’s we know we can be more influential when working in partnership with others, which is why we’ve joined forces with Centrepoint, Crisis, Depaul, Homeless Link and Shelter this general election.
What could be more persuasive than six of the country’s leading homelessness charities working together to review the evidence, listen to the lived experience of our clients, and produce a joint manifesto outlining the reforms we all agree are needed.
The next Government has the power to make sure that everybody in our society has a safe and stable home, by putting in place a plan that commits to:
- Improving access to truly affordable housing.
- Strengthening support through the welfare system.
- Providing long-term, guaranteed funding for services which prevent homelessness and quickly get people off the street and into a stable home.
Nearly £1 billion per year has been cut from homelessness services since 2008/9. Housing benefit doesn’t cover the cost of rent, and there is a dire shortage of social housing. We want as many people as possible to help us point this out to the candidates and parties campaigning in the election, and encourage them to include the right solutions in their manifestos.
As always, we’ll also be supporting our clients to have their say by helping them to register to vote and seeking their input throughout the campaign.
Find out how you can help too by visiting the End Homelessness Now campaign website and join the call to #EndHomelessness in this general election.