The Leeds-based housing campaign group Hands Off Our Homes is inviting all residents of Leeds and surrounding areas to a Regional Housing Summit on Saturday 12 March 2016.
Many of you will know Hands Off Our Homes for its campaigning against the bedroom tax, and for supporting tenants who were at risk of eviction because the charge meant that they couldn’t pay their rent.
Now, we are facing even bigger threats to tenants and to the future of social housing itself. The Housing and Planning Bill currently going through the Lords will force councils to sell off a lot of their housing stock – at a time when 25,000 households are on the council waiting-list in Leeds alone. The Bill will also impose huge rent-rises on households with a total combined income of £30,000 or more (including tax credits). New tenancies will be reviewed after 2 to 5 years, causing insecurity for families and instability for neighbourhoods.
People with support needs face even bleaker prospects. The government plans to limit Housing Benefit to the maximum Local Housing Allowance for a given household size in the private sector. This will affect all supported and sheltered tenancies which rely on higher amounts of Housing Benefit to fund specialist services. This includes supported and sheltered housing for older people, residentially-based services for people with learning disabilities, mental health issues or sensory or physical impairments, refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and hostels for the rising numbers of people made homeless by the lack of affordable housing.
We have, of course, not forgotten the bedroom tax, whose cruel impacts are now to be compounded by the lowering of the overall household benefit cap to £20,000pa, leaving thousands of families unable to pay their rent. Tenants trapped in the often squalid and insecure private sector will be at greatest risk, as their rents are higher and short-term contracts make them easier to evict.
The Summit will be from 11.30am to 4.30pm, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Lower Briggate. It’s free to all, and tea and coffee will be provided. The venue is wheelchair accessible.
We are calling this Summit to launch a broad-base, unified campaign for the future of social housing, bringing together tenants, campaigners, housing workers, service-providers, trade unions, planners and everyone else who cares about the right to a decent, secure and genuinely affordable place to live.
Please register on Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/regional-housing-summit-tickets-5324212864
For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07930 966205.
This post was written by Ellen Robottom using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.