Housing organisations urge politicians to “Back the Bill”

Written by Ross Thomas

Back the Bill to end Wales’s Housing and Homelessness crisis 

All political parties in Wales are being urged to “Back the Bill” and commit to a legal right to adequate housing in their 2021 Welsh Parliament Election manifestos.

And today (8 Oct) they have been shown a route-map to that legislation with the publication of a draft bill by CIH Cymru, Tai Pawb and Shelter Cymru.

The bill sets out how such legislation could be realised and how it could lead to a Wales where everyone would have a right to a safe, accessible and affordable place to call home.

It was drafted by Dr Simon Hoffman of Swansea University, a human rights academic who worked with the then National Assembly for Wales on the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011.

Matt Dicks, Director of CIH Cymru, said:

“Along with our partners in this campaign, we believe that legislation is the starting point of a “progressive realisation” of the right to adequate housing. We believe it will push focus and resource into the sector – that it will drive a systemic shift in policy approach, driving housing up the policy priority list and in turn providing the level of investment we actually need to reset our housing system.

“If we truly believe it is a right and that a safe affordable home is central to addressing many of societies’ woes – now more than ever in the midst of a global health emergency – is the time to make it a right”

Alicja Zalesinska, Director of Tai Pawb, said:

“A safe place to live has never been more important than now. Being able to ‘Stay at Home’ has never been so closely linked to human survival. If there is one lesson we could all take away from this crisis, it is the unquestionable necessity of having access to the most basic of social rights – the right to a good home, for everyone and especially those for whom this access is unequal.

“The incredible work of our government, housing, homelessness and third sector colleagues in ensuring that people have access to a home during this pandemic cannot be wasted. We need to build on this tragically necessary but effective momentum, the renewed understanding and the collective power we have to see housing for what it is – a basic right.”

John Puzey, Director of Shelter Cymru, said:

“In Wales we are rightly aiming to make homelessness rare and non-recurrent and seeking to ensure that no one is evicted into homelessness from social housing. A right to adequate housing, incorporated into Welsh law, will frame thinking and drive consistently over time, across services and successive governments, the policies, practices and law to achieve that aim.”

The launch event, which is being held digitally due to the Covid situation, is being sponsored by John Griffiths MS, Chair of the Welsh Parliament’s Equalities, Communities & Local Government Committee, which has already supported the principle of a legal right to adequate housing by recommending that a specific element of incorporation. should be included on the face of the Local Government & Elections (Wales) Bill which is currently being scrutinized by the Welsh Parliament.

View our Draft Bill in English and Cymraeg.

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