Merry Christmas from all of us here at Property Notify – 2019 has been a transformational year for many in the property sector, and much of this has been due to political developments in Westminster.
However, something which may have been missed during the political debate, about issues such as Section 21, Brexit and overseas investment is an issue which is noticeable from the moment you walk down the street – the plight of those experiencing homelessness.
Earlier this year, we marked World Homelessness Day, and now as we celebrate Christmas, it’s important to reiterate the importance for all of us to reflect and to do whatever we can to tackle the issue of homelessness together, and hold our government to account, for the measures it has proposed to address it.
Political consensus becomes apparent
One of the things that was welcomed during the general election campaign in the past few weeks was the fact that the main parties all recognised that homelessness was a prominent issue, and they all made mention of proposals to address it head-on in their party manifestos.
The Conservatives won a fresh mandate from the people in this year’s election, with their manifesto including policies such as aiming to fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, and to introduce measures to stop rough sleeping by 2024. This is to be achieved through a number of pilot schemes and programmes in the coming years.
Property Notify is hopeful that the new government will make good on these manifesto commitments, as their sizable majority gives them great responsibilities – the lives of many people will depend on whether they prove to be capable of seeing them through in the coming years. They simply cannot afford not to.
Shining a light on the issue
Why is it so important to shine a spotlight on this issue, especially at Christmas? Simply put, homelessness is costing lives each year.
Data from the Office for National Statistics on the number of deaths directly caused by homelessness only extends as far back as 2013, but since then, it’s estimated that up to 3,300 people have lost their lives because of it.
A lack of suitable shelter and basic essentials like warm clothes and blankets during the winter months are just some of the things that are responsible, and in one of the richest countries in the world, it is unthinkable to imagine that people continue to live in conditions such as these.
The causes of homelessness can be innumerable – the UK’s lack of affordable homes, as well as various imbalances within the housing market, between landlords and tenants, combined with the unavoidable truth of a growing population, mean that rhetoric needs to be met with tangible results.
Making a house a home
The government has acknowledged the shortage of affordable homes, and the Conservative manifesto has committed to ensuring that more homes will be built each year by the mid-2020s. This is another commitment that Property Notify will be watching with great interest.
At present, the government are basing their proposals on a target of 300,000 new homes per annum by 2024, but more recent data suggests there is a long way to go before we see such numbers. The ability to build more affordable and greener homes for a rising population requires a healthier economy, especially in the construction sector.
The definitive conclusion to this year’s election appears to have led to something of an improvement in sentiment in some parts of the market, which could help lift animal spirits in the economy, and in turn, help deliver the housing market that everyone would wish for.
However, a disorderly Brexit could undo much of these improvements, and do little to help those experiencing homelessness, who need our help the most. Brexit might be achieved by the end of January 2020, but it will have an impact on the lives of many, long after it has come to pass.
One last thing
Before we let you get back to celebrating this Christmas, please do consider checking out the following charities, and see what you can do to help change someone’s life for the better.
At the last count, homelessness charity Shelter estimated to that there were as many as 320,000 people experiencing homelessness, or one in every 201 people. Every donation to any one of these organisations will go some way towards helping someone this Christmas, so consider getting in touch today.
Shelter – Call 0300 330 1234
Crisis – Call 0300 636 1967
The Salvation Army – Call 0207 367 4500
Centrepoint – Call 0800 587 5158
Emmaus UK – Call 0300 303 7555