Housing

Big Issue calls for government to End Housing Insecurity Now with vital new campaign

The cost of simply remaining in our homes is soaring. This is why Big Issue is launching the End Housing Insecurity Now campaign

End Housing Insecurity Now

The Big Issue is calling on policymakers to End Housing Insecurity Now

The UK is in the grip of a housing crisis. And those in society with least are bearing it most.  

The soaring cost of simply remaining in our homes is leading a march towards homelessness and a dark future. This is why Big Issue is launching the End Housing Insecurity Now campaign.  

For over 30 years we have been committed to helping those who were homeless or at risk of homelessness to work their way back to society. It has become clear the need to help a greater volume of society, who in the past were not impacted, has arisen. And now it is renters, some nine million people, who are being hit with steepest bills and toughest ways to survive. 

Renters face a crippling toll of cost increases. As food, fuel and rent spirals, too many people receiving universal credit and housing benefit cannot cover their rent at the current levels. Renters are being driven into debt and homelessness, just to afford the basics.  

Urgent action is needed to prevent even more people being pushed into homelessness. Some 242,000 households have already been forced into sleeping on the streets, sofa surfing and living in temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs. This is up by a third since 2020. 

Westminster has lost its grip. To afford housing is now becoming a luxury. The crisis doesn’t discriminate through age or demographic. Young families, struggling to make ends meet and clobbered with some of the highest childcare costs are feeling it. Students and young people trying to make their way in the world are stuck. People who have tried to save to buy a home but are increasingly priced out see so much money hoovered up by essentials. Those who can’t work due to age or disability or sickness are also trapped. Enough is enough. 

Our End Housing Insecurity Now campaign is calling on Rishi Sunak to implement three policies to ensure the nine million renters living in poverty in the UK can stay in their homes and fulfil their potential:   

  1. Unfreeze local housing allowance (LHA) rates (currently fixed at 2018-19 rental prices). While rents have been going up, Housing Benefit payments have not. Those on the lowest incomes have been left to make up the shortfall, by cutting back on essentials, or falling into debt. A rise will make sure Housing Benefit payments keep up with local rent costs and are calculated to cover the cheapest 30% of private rents.   
  1. Reform universal credit to ensure everyone can afford the essentials. BIG is backing the call for an ‘Essentials Guarantee  to set a basic standard of living. The amount needed should increase from £86 to at least £120 a week for a single adult and from £135 to £200 for a couple.  
  1. Bring forward the Renters Reform Bill and end no-fault evictions for good, to finally put renters in the private sector on a sure footing.  Still now private landlords in England can evict their tenants without a reason. These no-fault evictions are one of the leading drivers of homelessness. In the last year, nearly 25,000 people were made homeless by Section 21 evictions. The Renters Reform Bill promises to be the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in a generation. 

We know people in Britain are fed up with the crisis gripping around them. A recent poll by leading Conservative funder Lord Ashcroft revealed that over two thirds of the public believe “people have a right to things like decent housing… and the government has a responsibility to make sure everyone has” it.  

So, make your voice heard. Join our petition to gather the weight of anger and present to the government demanding positive change

As our campaign grows we will highlight the work Big Issue Group (BIG) is doing to give thousands of people at the sharp end of poverty some hope and real help, particularly through investments made via Big Issue Invest into organisations giving thousands of people in the UK access to secure housing. We’ll also look to the work of BIG’s frontline service team, who support Big Issue vendors and Big Issue Recruit candidates to access the basics, such as secure housing.   

We will bring focus to BIG’s work as a ‘social advisor’ to ensure social impact is at the heart of investment decisions, with a focus on affordable housing.  

There is no time to wait. People are at the edge. We need to End Housing Insecurity Now.

Support our vendors this winter and beyond

If you can't visit your local vendor on a regular basis, then the next best way to support them is with a subscription to the Big Issue. As a social enterprise, we invest every penny we make back into the organisation. That means that with every subscription, we are supporting people in poverty to get back on their own two feet.
Vendor martin Hawes

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