Housing group pen open letter to PM demanding eviction ban extension

The Big Issue has signed Homes For All's letter, which was inspired by our Ride Out Recession Alliance campaign

Our Ride Out Recession Alliance is continuing to gather pace.

Homes For All is an umbrella organisation gathering tenant groups, trade unions, housing campaigns and politicians across England.

At present, they are focused on moving the government to extend the August 23 moratorium on evictions. Inspired by our RORA campaign, they have written an open letter to Boris Johnson calling for change. We will sign the letter and carry it in next week’s magazine.

Eileen Short, convenor for Homes for All, explains: “Now is the time for all of us to join together, to stop the threatened avalanche of evictions and homelessness. We can all see what’s coming, unless we change government policy. That can definitely be done if we all step up together. The Big Issue call catches the moment, and we want to build on that from the grass roots – in a broad, united campaign to stop evictions and win investment in the homes, jobs and services we need.”

An open letter to Boris Johnson

Government can still act to avert the pending disaster facing tens of thousands of renters across the UK. It’s not too late to step back from the brink, and ensure no-one loses their home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Ministers currently intend to allow evictions to resume after 23 August 2020. Without any real protection, thousands face the threat of eviction due to rent arrears.

Evidence suggests hundreds of thousands are going into rent arrears as jobs are cut, with tens of thousands at risk of losing their homes. These at-risk families include low-earning frontline workers still battling Covid-19 in the health, food and logistics industries.

Those most at risk of homelessness, eviction and job cuts are disproportionately of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Powerful groups are coming together to advise Government on how to avert this.

The Big Issue magazine is galvanising an alliance to “make sure that coronavirus doesn’t result in a new generation lost to homelessness”.

They say bold action is needed now to make changes in law to protect renters from eviction due to coronavirus. And more than 70,000 have already signed up to housing charity Shelter’s call to “ensure no-one is evicted as a result of coronavirus”.

As Shelter’s statement says: “Many are losing their jobs and unable to pay their rent. With the housing element of Universal Credit far too low, people across the country are at risk of huge debts and even losing their home once the evictions ban lifts. More needs to be done.”

Tenant unions the London Renters Union, Acorn and Living Rent have come
together in an impressive alliance to demand that: “Across the UK, protections against eviction should be expanded so no one loses their home while they are trying to cope with Coronavirus and its aftermath.”

They point out that “Massive rent debt will make it impossible for many to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

We call on the Prime Minister and Cabinet to step in now and legislate to ensure no-one loses their home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Signed:

  • Eileen Short, Homes for All
  • The Big Issue
  • Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive
  • Ben Clay, Tenants Union UK
  • Radical Housing Network (London)
  • Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett House of Lords
  • Lord Cashman CBE
  • John McDonnell MP
  • Ken Loach, film maker
  • Dave Prentis, general secretary, UNISON trade union
  • Sarah Woolley, general secretary, Ian Hodson, president, Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union
  • John McGowan general secretary, Social Workers Union
  • Jackie Applebee, chair, Doctors in Unite
  • Black Lives Matter Brighton, Portsmouth, Worthing, Hillingdon
  • The Black Music Movement
  • Zo Daniels, Collective Action for Black Matters
  • All Black Lives UK
  • Weyman Bennett, co-convenor, Stand Up To Racism Barnet
  • Councillor Mike Roberts, Rushmoor DC
  • Councillor Diarmaid Ward, housing lead, LB Islington
  • Labour Homelessness Campaign
  • Angie Naylor, Austerity Action Group
  • Focus E15 campaign
  • Haringey Unite Community
  • East London Unite Community
  • Terry Conway, chair, Hackney & Islington Unite Community
  • Barnet Unite Community
  • Newham Trades Council
  • Hendon Labour Party
  • Barnet Alliance for Public Services
  • Barnet Housing Action Group
  • Barnet Momentum
  • Barnet Trades Council
  • Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
  • Our West Hendon
  • Doug Thorpe, Left Unity
  • Mental Health Resistance Network
  • Linda Burnip, Ellen Clifford, DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts)
  • Jennifer Jones, Arbourthorne People
  • DPAC Sheffield
  • Disability Action Islington
  • Paula Peters, Bromley DPAC and chair, Bromley and Croydon Unite
    Community branch
  • Professor Paul Watt, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr. Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia, Lecturer in Urban Futures, Lancaster University
  • Dr.Katie Walsh, Reader in Human Geography, Department of Geography,
    University of Sussex
  • Dr Debbie Humphry, Lecturer in Human Geography, Kingston University.
  • Duncan Bowie Research Associate UCL

If you have an idea that could make things better, share it so we can spread the word. We recognise that the Alliance will build coalitions with uncomfortable allies in order to really address the problems that lie ahead. But we must act and we must begin now. Join us. Get in touch at rora@bigissue.com