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Thursday 15th
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

Charities to lobby parties on housing during election campaign

HOMELESS charities’ umbrella group Homeless Link launched a manifesto to end homelessness yesterday as it lobbied parties in preparation for this year’s general election. 

The next government must focus on five main areas including rough sleeping and the housing crisis, it said.

Building more homes and strengthening renters’ rights, as well as long-term investment in homeless support were also highlighted as vital.

“We believe that ending homelessness is achievable,” said Homeless Link head of policy Helen Mathie.

“But getting to this point will require having the right services in place and the political backing to make this possible.”

Homeless Link spent last year researching the experiences of homeless and formerly homeless people, as well as collecting feedback from charities across the country.

Many reported finding it increasingly difficult to handle the growing demand for their services and support. 

In Birmingham, where homelessness has been the highest in England for some time, cuts to council tax relief and housing benefits have meant an increase in rough sleepers in the city.

A Shelter report revealed in December that 150 families found themselves at risk of homelessness each day across the West Midlands.

London Rent Cap founder Becky Ely said that a limit was a necessary preventive measure.

“More than 100 households a day were evicted in the autumn as people are finding it harder and harder to afford the cost of renting‚” she said. 

“A rent cap would decrease evictions and homelessness currently caused by families unable to afford high rents and it would ensure everyone has an affordable home.”

Birmingham anti-cuts activist Ben Puusta told the Star: “Since the economic crisis, homelessness has become more prominent as housing stocks deplete, rent becomes more expensive and benefits become more arduous to claim.

“A job and welfare safety net would go some way to solving the problem, but as long as houses are a thing to make money out of rather than a place to live this problem will never go away.”