YEP Says: 50 years on and no nearer solving the housing crisis

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The homeless charity Shelter is 50 years old this year.

We hope they don’t mind us taking the following few paragraphs from their website. Because, frankly, they put things as succinctly as we ever could.

“The Swinging Sixties are the stuff of legend. But while some never had it so good, three million people were living in slums. Shelter was born out of the belief that this appalling injustice must be put right.

“Fifty years on, the country is in the grip of another housing crisis. A huge range of people are affected by our current housing shortage, from a generation of young people who can’t afford a home to those struggling with sub-standard housing.

“In out 50th year, 100,000 children are homeless. So, while we will reflect on our achievements, we will only celebrate when everyone has a place to call home.”

Fifty years since it came into being Shelter is processing more calls than ever.

Due to rising house prices , disappearing social housing and a dearth of ‘affordable homes’, the number of people in temporary accommodation has risen by 26%.

The number of families living in bed and breakfasts has doubled.

And food banks have never been more in demand.

How did we end up here?

By the end of the 1960s, as Shelter took its first campaigning steps, things seemed to be improving: home ownership was growing rapidly, as was social renting, with a huge decline in private renting.

Today the opposite is true. And who is to blame? The landlords? The developers? Can they seriously be blamed for capitalising on market forces.

Or the politicians, voting on short-term plans that benefit only the wealthy and the lucky?

Nearly 350,000 working families in Yorkshire could be one missed pay cheque from losing their home we report today (see page 11).

The figures from Shelter show many families are “stretched to breaking point, and barely scraping by from one pay cheque to the next”.

In her inaugural speech on the steps of Downing Street Prime Minister Theresa May promised that those ‘just managing’ would be her new Government’s priority.

Tens of thousands of families need to see the action behind the words - and quickly. Because there’s the finest of lines between ‘just managing’ and ‘going under.’

Nicola Furbisher, Editor

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