Reuse Network signs open letter to Government urging it to prevent mass homelessness

Posted on the 12th October 2021

Reuse Network have joined more than 50 organisations who have signed an open letter to the Government urging it to end no fault evictions, pay off the £360 million outstanding rent arrears and support people into sustainable jobs.

What is the current situation?

At the end of Summer 2021, there were an estimated 431,820 in the private rented sector who are behind on their rent and 558,000 universal credit claimants.

With the recent cut to Universal Credit, the end of furlough and the rising cost of living in the country, along with other competing factors, the country is on the edge of a homelessness crisis. This is why we are supporting the Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness Campaign.

How you can help

The Big Issue have created a petition which you can sign here. By signing the petition you can send a clear message to those in power that we cannot stand by and let mass homelessness become a reality.

As well as signing the petition, you can write to your MP and write to your council using the templates provided by The Big Issue to show your support for the campaign and commit to stopping mass homelessness.

You can read the full letter to the Government below, including signatory organisations:

Dear Prime Minister,  

For three decades, The Big Issue has supported people who have found themselves without a place to call home. Now, after a global pandemic has pushed so many into poverty, our priority is to put a stop to people becoming homeless in the first place. That’s why we are campaigning to Stop Mass Homelessness.   

This is so timely as a huge number of people who have never before been at risk of losing their home will suddenly be unable to afford the roof over their head through no fault of their own. This is the stark reality we face unless the Government act now to keep people in their homes.   

A shocking number of households were in rent arrears in summer 2021 – with estimates ranging from 431,820 in the Private Rented Sector, to 558,000 for Universal Credit claimants. Evictions and repossessions are also reaching the courts at an increasingly alarming pace. One household every 63 minutes was evicted in August and a third of cases explicitly mentioned Covid-19 related poverty.  

That was the picture before. A perfect storm awaits now that measures in place to support people through the pandemic have come to an end.   

The furlough scheme has been scrapped. That puts the 1.6 million people who were still on furlough last month at risk of losing their jobs – and their homes. Energy bills for millions have risen by up to £139 a year – pushing 488,000 additional households into fuel poverty. At the same time, we see Universal Credit cut by £20 – forcing families to choose between feeding their children or paying the rent.  

As people are faced with additional costs and their income or financial support is cut – how can they be expected to support themselves? Through no fault of their own, hundreds of thousands of people risk losing their homes.  

The Government was clear in its commitment that “no renter who has lost income due to Coronavirus will be forced out of their home”.  

But this is exactly the situation that hundreds of thousands are facing. We need action to support tenants and landlords to stop a mass homelessness crisis like never before.  

We saw the good progress that can be made on homelessness through the Everyone In scheme. Now, we need to build on this progress and see more bold and sensible policies like this again from the Government, to prevent families and individuals being forced into destitution and homelessness – which is more costly for the Government and damaging for society.  

Can you make good on your Government’s promise?  

We need you to commit to keep people in their homes – through ending no fault evictions, paying off the £360 million rent arrears and supporting people into sustainable jobs and training.  

Kind regards, 

Lord John Bird  

Founder of The Big Issue  

Signatories:

Action on Empty Homes

ASLEF

Bounce Back

Bright Centres

Caring in Bristol

City & Guilds

Community Trade Union

Crisis

Ctrl-Shift

Democracy Box

Fairer Share

FCB Inferno

Fuel Poverty Action

Generation Rent

Glass Door

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit

Highway House

Housing Association Charitable Trust

Housing Justice

Intergenerational Foundation

Joint council for the welfare of immigrants

Labour Campaign for Human Rights

London Borough of Southwark

Manage your language

Mumsnet

National Education Union

Nationwide

New Economics Foundation

New Horizon Youth Centre

Omidaze

Positive Money

Psychologists for Social Change

Quaker Social Action

Reuse Network

safeagent

Save the Children

Shelter

Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Social Enterprise UK

Social Housing Action Campaign

Springboard

The 99% organisation

The Body Shop

The Faculty of Public Health

Think Productive

Thompsons Solicitors

Transform Justice

Trust for London

Turn2Us

UK Women’s Budget Group

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Unlock

Wholegrain Digital

Working Chance

Read the full article written by Cachella Smith on The Big Issue website here

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