General Election 2019 - what are the parties saying about homelessness?
This General Election, Crisis, along with Centrepoint, Depaul, Homeless Link, Shelter, St Mungo’s and over 50 other housing and homelessness organisations, have been calling on political parties to commit to ending homelessness.
There are more than 170,000 families and individuals trapped in homelessness in Great Britain. We know homelessness isn’t inevitable and can be ended. We want the next UK Government 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 to cover the cost of rents
· Providing long-term, guaranteed funding for services which prevent homelessness and quickly get people off the street and into a stable home.
So what have the parties said they’ll do?
Across manifestos from all parties, commitments have been made that hold the promise of moving us towards ending homelessness. We’re pleased to see the Labour manifesto includes the pledge to restore housing benefit to cover the cheapest third of local rents. This is something Crisis has long been campaigning for and would prevent thousands of families from losing their homes and being pushed to the brink of homelessness. The Liberal Democrat and Green Party manifestos also include reference to housing benefit, with commitments to connect housing benefit to average rents in an area.
We’ve seen commitments towards building much needed social housing at scale, with the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour committing to building 100,000 new social homes per year, and the Conservatives promising to continue the supply of social housing and improving quality. We’ve also welcomed commitments to invest in homelessness services, with the Conservatives committing to expand Housing First, and Labour promising an additional £1 billion a year for councils. There have been strong promises to end rough sleeping, with the Conservatives committing to ending rough sleeping by the end of the next Parliament, Labour proposing a national plan to end rough sleeping within 5 years, and the Liberal Democrats promising emergency accommodation for anyone sleeping rough and a cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness. And we’re pleased to see a commitment to repeal the Vagrancy Act in Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party manifestos – we and others in the sector have been campaigning for this outdated Act to be scrapped, and to see an end to the criminalisation of people experiencing homelessness.
These are all positive steps in the right direction, but we need to see all parties fully commit to ending homelessness, and to make sure our future leaders know what needs to happen for this to become a reality.
We’ve put together a set of tools for you to take action in the run up to polling day:
- Tweet party leaders to ask them to commit to ending homelessness
- Have a look at our guide to what questions to ask your local candidates, and download our handy door hanger so you’ve got the questions ready when they knock on your door
- Attend a local hustings or question time event and hear what your candidates have to say.
In our society, we should all have a safe place to call home. Whatever the outcome of the General Election, we’ll keep working to make sure the next UK Government sets out an ambitious vision to end homelessness once and for all.
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