Justlife held fringe events at the Conservative and Labour Party conferences in October to push for temporary accommodation (TA) to be made a priority in the manifestos of both political parties. While we are still waiting to see what policy points made it into the manifestos, there were some seeds of hope that we could take away from both conferences.
With more than 105,000 households in temporary accommodation across England, there is an unprecedented demand for housing that is pushing councils into bankruptcy and causing misery for the people pushed into homelessness. As Shelter says, home is everything and its effects go beyond having a roof over your head, spurring huge societal consequences for health, education, employment and crime. As such, we believe all political parties need to prioritise homelessness in their manifestos for the next general election. We went to the Conservative and Labour Party conferences to add our voice to the chorus of organisations calling for this change.
Amidst a full roster of housing fringe events at both conferences, we hosted our own, alongside Shared Health and the TA APPG, to give temporary accommodation some much-needed focus. While there was a consensus among panellists from both parties that we need to build more social housing, only Labour put housing front and centre of their conference agenda, with Angela Rayner promising to deliver the “biggest boost to affordable housing for a generation” in her speech. It remains to be seen how many affordable homes will be built, and whether they will look at more immediate solutions to this emergency such as raising Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and providing cots for children.