A national campaign urges the government to prioritise social housing in the coronavirus recovery.
Homes at the Heart campaign, organised by the National Federation of Housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing, homelessness charity Crisis, the National Federation of ALMOs, and the Association of Retained Council Housing, will highlight the importance of affordable homes and secure tenancies as key to national recovery.
The campaign is calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing and has a clear and simple message: social homes should be at the heart of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, the campaign partners stated: “This pandemic has transformed our relationship with our homes.
“For some, home has been a sanctuary from a dangerous and unpredictable virus. Home has become their office, a classroom, a gym or a place of worship.
“But for countless others, the place they have spent lockdown has felt like a prison – housing that is far too small, too expensive, of poor quality or isolated from the support that would help them to live well.
“The coronavirus crisis is further highlighting the need for secure, high quality, better
designed affordable homes and, for many people, support to live in them.
“Not least for many of the people most affected by this crisis – low-paid key workers living in homes they can’t afford, rough sleepers helped off the streets, homeless families in
temporary accommodation, older people in unsupported homes, and families stuck
in overcrowded conditions.
“Without action, we are likely to see many people’s housing situations get much worse in the weeks, months and years ahead, as the economic impacts of the crisis
are felt across the country.
“In times of crisis, the worth of social housing is ever more visible and to so many of
the challenges that lie ahead, social housing is the answer.
“The social housing sector stands ready to play a major role in shoring up the future of the country.”
So far, the campaign has reached over two million people on social media and has caught the eye of senior politicians and celebrities.
More than 50 organisations, from NatWest to Save the Children, Wilmott Dixon to Carers UK, have declared their support, showing that this is not just a housing sector issue.
The campaign identifies five priorities for national recovery:
- No return to rough sleeping.
- A new generation of affordable homes.
- Helping people to thrive at home.
- A new drive to decarbonise social housing.
- Change for communities across the country.
Throughout August and September, the campaign participants are taking part in six themed weeks of action that highlight the detail of the social and financial good social housing is already doing, and showing how much more it could do with solid public and government backing.
Derby City Council and Derby Homes, who manage over 12,500 council tenancies as well as hundreds of leasehold properties across the City, have become the newest members of the campaign.
Maria Murphy, Managing Director of Derby Homes, commented on the campaign: “It is absolutely right that homes should be at the heart of our national recovery.
“During lockdown, our staff have spoken to thousands of people, many of whom have been extremely concerned about loss of income and the need to self-isolate to protect themselves and their families.
“It’s made it clearer than ever just how vital social housing and secure tenancies are for people’s physical, mental, and financial well-being.
“We want to work with the government and our partners across the housing sector to ensure that a real investment is made in housing as we move towards getting our economy back to normal.
“Everyone has the right to a safe, affordable home where they can build positive foundations for their future.”