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Housing

‘Why I’m backing The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign’

Susan Sullivan is one of 48 community champions around the UK who have signed up to help The Big Issue prevent homelessness in their local area

Thousands have backed The Big Issue’s call to stop mass homelessness and now activists around the country have gone a step further to champion The Big Issue cause in their local area. 

Scores of people have stood up to become community champions for our Stop Mass Homelessness campaign, helping The Big Issue prevent thousands of people hit by the pandemic from losing their homes in the months ahead.

Sign our petition to #StopMassHomelessness

The Big Issue co-founder Lord John Bird has warned the end of the furlough scheme and the removal of the £20 increase in universal credit in the autumn, among other factors, will see “more people at risk of homelessness now than in living memory”.

Student Susan Sullivan, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, is one of almost 50 community champions taking action locally to prevent that outcome. Champions will be tasked with writing to MPs, organising events in their area and coming up with other creative ideas to boost the vital campaign.

The 63-year-old’s own brush with homelessness inspired her to get involved.

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“It seems like for almost 20 years I have been living out of boxes and suitcases because I have been at risk of homelessness. That made me want to be a community champion,” said Susan, who is studying an open degree at The Open University in the hope of starting a business to boost green jobs.

“Ever since I was divorced and single parent, I have fought tooth and nail to end inequalities. I’m a real fan of the circular economy that places people at the centre of everything because that’s actually just part of my personality.

“I can’t stand to see any person suffering just because of imbalances of distribution of money or anything, to be honest. I can’t stand that kind of carry on. So I’ll do anything I can to help address that.”

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Susan added that she has been a long-time admirer of The Big Issue and is keen to take the campaign beyond the nine-point plan and the petition The Big Issue launched just over a month ago.

“I think this campaign goes a bit deeper,” added Susan.

“I’ve been connected with The Big Issue for a long time and I buy the magazine whenever I can and I always try to support and sign up for The Big Issue’s different campaigns.

“I believe we just need to just wipe out rent debt altogether. You can’t make people homeless in this age of Covid.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes right now. One UK household is made homeless every three-and-a-half hours.

You can help stop a potential avalanche of homelessness by joining The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign. Here’s how:

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