Social housing experts, residents, workers and community campaigners will gather today (Thursday) for a landmark conference in Cardiff to discuss the future of social housing in Wales.
UNISON has convened the first conference of its kind in Wales against the backdrop of the Grenfell disaster in what it is describing as a critical time for social housing. The #SocialHousingNow event at the Park Inn hotel, will examine the need for a housing charter for Wales.
Lynne Hackett, UNISON Cymru Wales head of community said,
“Years ago, it was our civic pride to look after every member of society and provide a decent council house to everyone who needed one. Adequate and comfortable housing was seen as a human right. That sentiment has been entirely absent from the agenda of past UK governments, more interested in helping private landlords get rich.
“The avoidable Grenfell tragedy was a horrible consequence of a lack of investment in social house building; councils being starved of money by savage Westminster spending cuts and privatisations muddying responsibility for housing maintenance.
“People in privately-rented homes are struggling as rents rocket and the result is evictions and increased homelessness, particularly for those who are mentally ill. Women’s refuge centres are closing and those escaping domestic violence have nowhere to go.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. We need well-planned, well-maintained and safe social housing for people to live in.
“Many UNISON members live in council homes or work in housing supporting vulnerable people. We have called academics, employers, staff and service users together to develop a charter for social housing in Wales which properly invests in buildings and the housing workforce.”
Notes for editors
- #SocialHousingNow will take place on Thursday 9 November from 10.15am – 3.15pm at the Park Inn by Radisson, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff CF10 2JH.
- Confirmed speakers include Brian Robson, Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Gavin Edwards, UNISON national community officer and Jane Mudd, Cardiff Metropolitan University.
- Panel sessions include participants from the Acorns Tenants Union South West; Welsh Tenants Federation; Shelter Cymru and Hafal, with contributions from UNISON members.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.