Housing crisis campaign goes to Westminster

25th January 2024

Housing crisis poster featuring foodbank logo and campaigns manager, Juliet Mead.

Just a week after Eastbourne Foodbank urged churches, businesses and organisations in the town to back calls to tackle the growing crisis in housing support, the campaign has gone to the Houses of Parliament.

Eastbourne Foodbank’s Campaigns Manager, Juliet Mead, and one of its senior welfare advisers, Robert Crockford, were among those from across the country who attended the lobbying event today (Tuesday, 23 January).

Foodbank selfie in front of the House of Commons.

Urgent need for extra funding

The campaign is being driven by 120 district and borough councils, of all political parties, including Eastbourne Borough Council, and demands extra funding for hard-pressed councils providing emergency and temporary accommodation.

It also wants the Government to act more quickly to raise Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates which will reduce the number of people requiring emergency accommodation because they can’t afford their rent.

Juliet said: “I’m so pleased we got the opportunity to take this campaign to Westminster and to make sure the Government is fully aware of what is happening in Eastbourne and elsewhere in the country.”

Two key issues

The two main issues the campaign wants the Government to address urgently are the way private rents are out-stripping housing allowance benefit, and the rapidly increasing cost to councils of providing temporary and emergency accommodation.

Before the Westminster meeting, Juliet said: “We all know there is not enough social housing. This means many people have to rent privately but housing allowance rates have not increased in line with market rents. Tenants have seen large increases in their rent meaning they often have shortfalls of up to £500 to find every month. As a result, people, already on low incomes, are being forced to visit the foodbank and if they can’t keep up with those rent payments they have to be housed in emergency or temporary accommodation.

“Councils also urgently need extra funding from Government to be able to provide our essential housing safety net and protect people from destitution.”

Juliet said Eastbourne Foodbank was increasingly seeing families living in temporary accommodation and others unable to afford their rent.

“This simply is unsustainable”, she added. “We know the Government has agreed to increase LHA rates in April – but more urgent help is needed. People need that support now.”

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