Homelessness

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding homelessness and Crisis’ ‘No One Turned Away’ campaign.

It is deeply concerning that homelessness and rough sleeping have both risen sharply since 2010, and that there has also been a big increase in the number of families living in temporary accommodation. A number of homeless shelters have been forced to close, leaving those who find themselves homeless vulnerable and without support.

Labour is committed to tackling the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping by building more affordable homes.

However, the key driver of homelessness is now eviction from the private rented sector. Eleven million people now rent privately, including over 1.5 million families with children, and renters are paying more than £1,000 a year more in rent than in 2010. Families are also faced with the prospect that their rent could jump from one year to the next, and half of those renting say they are worried about unaffordable rent increases.

A Labour government will give families in the private rented sector security and peace of mind by legislating for three year tenancies, giving renters a stable home, landlords the confidence to invest and ending practices such as revenge evictions. After the initial rent is agreed between landlord and tenant, we will end excessive rent increases by capping rents so they can fall but cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during the three year period. Tenants will still have the flexibility of giving notice during these contracts.

Councils up and down the country are doing their best to support homeless people but under this Government funding cuts have hit the most deprived communities hardest. Labour will ensure a fairer distribution of central government grant to local councils and we will provide longer term funding settlements to councils so that they can plan ahead and reinvest savings.

Homelessness and housing will be a priority for the next Labour Government and I look forward to working with you on this important issue should I be elected.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.