Justlife is hosting its very first national conference about Unsupported Temporary Accommodation next month on November 30th, where we will raise awareness and initiate momentum for systemic change for residents living in this substandard accommodation. Understandably, we feel this conference has huge potential - which is why, one of the residents of UTA in Manchester, who is involved in the conference planning process felt that it was imperative that Theresa May be invited. So, he went away and wrote a letter. See below:
"Dear Mrs Theresa May Prime Minister,
First and foremost I would like to congratulate you on your recent snap election victory. I understand you have a hard job ahead of you in the face of austerity and terrorism and wish you well.
I also understand your diary is most probably full until next year. I would like to highlight an issue which is close to my heart, maybe you can help by realising that your housing benefit policies for single people do not work. It's effectively sending people on housing benefit into a pound shop with 80 pence.
I would like to invite you to the first national Unsupported Temporary Accommodation Conference organised by Justlife a registered charity based in Brighton and Manchester who specialise in helping people living in unsupported temporary accommodation (hostels, B&Bs, guesthouses). This event will have many more charities and public sector representatives present, Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester will also be attending.
Currently the event participators have the ideas but without government backing and policy changes a disaster is looming. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being severe, we are already at 3.5.
This event is at The People's History Museum on 30th November 2017 from 9:30am until 4:30pm. Tea/coffee and lunch will be provided.
It would be amazing if you could attend, however, I do understand that most likely is wishful thinking. The next best thing would also be nice; the Housing Minister or Equalities Minister to attend. This would provide an opportunity to better understand the issues facing people in 2017, and work forward together to prevent the social cleansing from getting to a position where there is no going back.
Justlife Service User"
We had collectively written a letter from residents and staff to an MP before and not received a response - so, needless to say - we did not believe we would hear back.
However, much to our delight, two weeks later - the resident received a direct response from Theresa May’s office. Unfortunately she was not able to attend, but she had sent our request to the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) so that someone could attend. Again, we thought nothing would come of it. But, again to our surprise, we received a response from the DCLG saying that although the minister could not attend on that day due to a prior engagement, that a representative of his would attend in his place to feed back.
Amazing. Just ask and you might get. This Manchester UTA resident has learned what can happen if you just ask and that sometimes, just sometimes, your voice is heard.
What a brilliant thing.
There are a few places left at the Unsupported Temporary Accommodation Conference. If you would like to sign up go click on this link here
or contact Christa Maciver, email@example.com, if you have any questions.