Today Young Labour launches its first ever priority campaign: ‘Young, Hidden and Homeless’. Every year 80,000 young people experience homelessness and the number of homeless households in England has risen by 25% in the past three years.
We can and should do more to address this. We may not be in government but we can bring about real change on a local level. Local authorities have responsibility for helping homeless people and, having won back many councils last May, we need to capitalise on that.
From today, Young Labour groups and members around the country will be approaching their local councils, asking them to pass a motion guaranteeing that they will not turn young homeless people away without, at the very least, advice and assistance. The motion also includes a commitment to providing better and more accessible information about housing to those with disabilities, mental health problems and addictions.
These local aspects of the campaign were agreed at Young Labour’s annual conference in June. Since then, David Cameron has announced plans to abolish Housing Benefit for under-25s, potentially forcing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes and making them leave their jobs to move back in with their parents. For many, moving back in with their parents is not an option, due to estrangement or domestic abuse.
Young Labour will be campaigning for the protection of Housing Benefit for under-25s on a national level, as well as lobbying the Labour Party to adopt policies for its manifesto to increase the amount of affordable housing built, take action on empty homes and reform the private rented sector.
Many young people and students rent privately. We need to ensure they have the security of long-term tenancies and predictable rent increases, rather than the potential rent hikes that they currently face.
If you’re a young person at Annual Conference, come along to Young Labour’s campaign launch at 12.45 today (Wednesday) in Exchange 9 in Manchester Central.
More information about the campaign and resources for members are now available online at www.younglabour.org.uk/youthhomelessness.
To add your name to the list of councillors, MPs, MSPs, AMs and MEPs who are supporting the campaign you can contact Bex Bailey, Vice Chair (Campaigns) of Young Labour, at firstname.lastname@example.org.