It’s a national scandal that 50 years after Ken Loach’s seminal film Cathy Come Home levels of street homelessness are soaring again. The current housing market is broke, with many rents beyond the reach of ordinary working families, forcing them to make a choice between putting food on the table or paying the rent. A safe, secure, affordable place to live is a basic human right. Solving the housing crisis is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today. It’s well documented that poor housing leads to social exclusion and affects children’s attainment at school. We are failing the current generation and this will continue for generations to come unless urgent action is taken.
The increase in homelessness is partly due to ineffective housing policy from national government and lack of investment in housing going back over 20 years. It is essential we bring housing policies back under local, democratic control. For housing to be genuinely affordable it must be possible for all sectors of society to access it without having to borrow unfeasible sums of money or rely on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. We urgently need more homes in all their forms. The Green party would encourage a balanced mix of tenures on all new developments through local planning policy, with the emphasis placed on commonly owned and social housing to ensure new homes are truly affordable and meet local needs. In this way we will build diverse, adaptable and sustainable housing that serves the changing needs of the local community.