We are calling on governments across the UK to provide more low cost housing for people who need it. Rents should be set at levels that people on low incomes can afford, or benefit rules should be changed. Councils, housing associations and private landlords must all make sure that their properties are of a decent standard. People should not have to move every few months. We want to see more schemes that help homeless people find and keep accommodation.
Read how losing and gaining a home has an impact on people's lives.
'Knowing I’ve got a secure tenancy on my own place which I don’t have to share with strangers is incredible. Just to be anonymous again was a big relief. I live in a normal community away from old influences. I have my own keys and I manage my own home. I know I could still get evicted, but having that responsibility has always made me not do anything to risk that. Just knowing that people believe in you and are prepared to give you that respect makes a huge difference. I’ve got a roof over my head, I’m able to get on with my neighbours, I have food and electricity. That makes me feel quite blessed now.'
'I’ve been to the council here four or five times but because I’ve got no friends or family in the area they always said I’m not entitled to any help from them. The people who’ve been the nicest to me have actually been the local police. In the end two police officers came to the council with me and said it was against my human rights what they were doing to me. That’s what it took to make them change their mind. After that they said they should be able to give me somewhere next week. It’s taken six months but I can’t wait. I’d never been homeless before. I had no idea what it was like. I’ve actually got a job in the Highland Hotel waiting for me as soon as I move in. It’s only a dishwasher but it’s still a job. I got it while I was homeless but until I get that address I’m not allowed to start work.'
'Occasionally we would manage to rent a private room but the last place we stayed in was so depressing and dangerous I had to get out. We paid £90 a week each but we had no hot water and no heating. It would rain indoors and there was black mould everywhere. It was only a four-bedroom house but the landlord was renting it out to as many as thirteen other people. He did give us a contract but I don’t think he had any idea of his obligations as a professional landlord. He was just scamming people really.'
Our evidence on the different types of housing available in the UK and barriers to accessing them.
of private landlords will let their properties to homeless people
Six out of ten councils find it hard to access social tenancies for homeless people
It is time to repeal the Vagrancy Act, yes. But if the answer was ever about whether to criminalise people, then we have been asking the wrong question. If we can see our way past labelling, grouping, dismissing, damning, pointlessly prosecuting and fining people, perhaps we can start answering the right question. What help and support do people need to realise their potential, and how quickly can we get it to everyone that needs it?