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Crisis open letter demands political commitment on ending homelessness for good

Over 11,000 people, alongside Crisis Ambassadors and lived experience campaigners, have joined together to urge party leaders to fix England’s broken housing system and tackle rising homelessness

Today, 8th June 2024, Crisis has delivered an open letter to the leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties demanding they make ending homelessness a political priority ahead of the forthcoming general election.

The letter, signed by over 11,000 people, including leading actors Sam Phillips, Micheal Ward and Rebecca Ferguson as well as lived experience campaigners, calls on the English party leaders to commit to ending all forms of homelessness.

With figures showing homelessness is now at record levels, the letter from Crisis argues that successive governments have “failed in their duty to take the critical steps needed to end homelessness, and to build enough social housing” for decades. It warns that “the rising cost of living and soaring rents” are pushing more people from their homes, and that “families are forced to live in cramped hostels and mouldy B&Bs that make them ill or have no other option but to wash their children’s clothes in the bath”.

The signatories, which also include director Lorna Tucker, activist Nyome Nicholas-Williams and Crisis ambassador Sir Jonathan Pryce, argue that leaders can fix the broken housing system by building good quality social homes, repurposing empty properties and enhancing efforts to support people off the streets.

The general election in early July is being held against the backdrop of a severe housing and homelessness crisis in England. Thousands of people are being forced to sleep on the streets, with data showing that more than 4,000 people are sleeping rough in London alone. The highest number of households on record – more than 112,000 – are now trapped in temporary accommodation, with many English councils being forced to spend nearly half their council tax receipts on housing people in emergency accommodation.

So far, the major parties have said little about how they will tackle rising homelessness or end the housing crisis across England.

Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues of our time, yet no party leader has committed to ending it. This must change.

“We know that by building 90,000 social homes a year and investing in proper support services we can ensure that everyone has access to a safe and stable home. With the election drawing closer, it’s critical that the major parties heed our calls and commit to tackling one of the greatest injustices of our time. They cannot ignore this any longer.”