John McDonnell MP has agreed to host a meeting in the House of Commons on “Homelessness, Evictions and the New Poor.” The UK has one of the greatest degrees of inequality in Europe and one of the major reasons for this is the housing market. Increasing numbers of people cannot find affordable homes.
John McDonnell is hosting this meeting for us and has argued strongly,
“We have not seen a housing crisis on this scale since the second world war. In the borough, I have 1,500 to 2,000 families and more who are homeless at any point in time. The reason for that is that the bulk of our council housing stock has been sold off. Little council housing has been built in 30 years, under both Governments, and the buy-to-let landlords have moved in to provide the accommodation.”
Alison Gelder is Chief Executive of Housing Justice who enable local groups and churches to provide practical help to people in housing need. At the same time they work for change in housing policies at national and local level. Alison recently stated,
“Somehow we have lost sight of the recognition “that a range of tax-funded services have to be provided for the basic living and social standards of a civilised society.” This is not a political judgement but a moral one.”
Ahmet Oykener is the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Regeneration in the London Borough of Enfield. He has been involved in a number of innovative initiatives in his Borough. One is to reduce the dependence on private rentals, by arranging a credit facility of £100m to begin bulk-buying homes. It’s introducing a scheme to license private landlords so controversial that it’s being challenged in court. And for the first time in 30 years it is building council houses. Furthermore, in defiance of Eric Pickles, it is using a loophole that means it won’t give tenants the right to buy. It is also offering a free property management service to landlords, in a bid to help homeless families. It is becoming a model that many other local authorities are looking at and one that demonstrates that local government can make a difference.
Rents continue to rise and people are forced out of the housing market. And yet housing should be a basic human right.
This meeting would look at the growing number of evictions there are in the public, rented and mortgaged sectors and the growing numbers of homeless and how this is creating a new form of poverty that is fast become a crisis in our society.
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