Charities join forces to call for an end to homelessness, hunger and poverty on anniversary of Everyone In
Today, on the anniversary of Everyone In, Crisis, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and The Trussell Trust have written an open letter to the Prime Minister to seek a new commitment that no one should be homeless, hungry or living in poverty today. The full letter reads:
The Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister,
It’s been a year to the day since local authorities were asked to do whatever it takes to ensure that people sleeping on the street were provided with a safe place to shelter from coronavirus.
In the days that followed we saw local government, charities and individuals rise to the challenge and go to extraordinary lengths to bring everyone in. To date, the scheme has provided emergency accommodation for over 37,000 people and has undoubtedly saved lives.
This came alongside other vital measures that stopped people losing their homes and, through boosting the welfare system at local and national levels, gave struggling families a financial lifeline which meant they could keep their heads above water, pay their rent and put food on the table.
In just a few short weeks the pandemic showed some of what we can do when we set our collective minds and resources towards tackling homelessness, hunger and poverty. We write to you today to mark the achievements of the last year, but also to seek a new commitment that nobody should be homeless, hungry or living in poverty in our society today.
Living in extreme poverty and homelessness was a threat to life before the pandemic urged us into action. As we start our journey to recovery, we must not return to business as usual. The time is right for a new national and political vision for a country without poverty and homelessness, and for civil society to work alongside you in achieving it.
There is clear public desire to change our nation for the better and build a future where people aren’t forced to sleep on our streets, where families aren’t left with no option but to use food banks, and where peoples’ incomes are enough to cover their heating and rent.
Britain has shown it can lead the world through the vaccination programme, and the Everyone In scheme has also been rightly lauded as a unique achievement. So now let’s build from these proud foundations. Just as we have reset our values and aspirations when emerging from war and disaster in the past, let us do so again now.
We have a choice to make. We can return to a society blighted by extreme poverty, or we can recognise that the whole of society benefits when we all have a place to call home and when our basic needs of food, safety and opportunity are met.
As we turn our ambition and resolve towards recovery, the UK government must establish a cross-party Parliamentary Commission to inform the development of a government strategy to tackle poverty and destitution. This would be a very welcome mechanism for progress, and we recommend this is established as a first step towards a much brighter future.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive, Crisis
Emma Revie, Chief Executive, The Trussell Trust
Helen Barnard, Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation