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More backing for right to housing

The campaign to recognise housing as a fundamental right in Wales is marking Human Rights Day by revealing support from across the housing and charity sectors, politics and academia.

Releasing the names of principal supporters, ‘Back the Bill’ is demonstrating the breadth of support across Wales for introducing legislation. Last week, polling undertaken by CIH Cymru in partnership with Cardiff University showed that 77% of people support a legal right to housing.  A web page has also been launched which enables people to sign up to the campaign and to keep up to date on its latest developments.

‘Back the Bill’ is a joint campaign run by housing charities Tai Pawb, CIH Cymru and Shelter Cymru following the commissioning of a feasibility study in June 2018 in conjunction with Dr Simon Hoffman of Swansea University. The study provides a roadmap for incorporation of the right to adequate housing into Welsh law and how it could help address some of the key housing issues of the day, including security of tenancy, accessibility, affordability and homelessness. The recently-published Draft Bill sets out how such legislation could be realised, pushing focus and resource into housing and driving a systemic shift in policy approach that would reset the dial on the housing system in Wales.

The call has already been met with support by Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Conservatives and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, each of which have pledged to introduce the right in their manifesto ahead of elections to the Senedd next May.

In her Manifesto for the Future, Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, calls for Welsh Government to make housing a human right.

Supporting the call to ‘Back the Bill’, Ms Howe said:

‘A legal right to housing is one of the biggest gifts we could give to future generations.

‘Affordable, safe, connected, energy-efficient homes help keep people well, and a right to housing in law would help us meet the goals set by our unique Well-being of Future Generations Act, preventing homelessness, lowering the cost of running a home, taking action on the climate emergency and allowing us to plan better for looking after people in old age.’

Issuing a joint statement, the directors of the three organisations, Alicja Zalesinska (Tai Pawb), Matt Dicks (CIH Cymru) and Ruth Power (Shelter Cymru), added:

We believe that everyone should have a human right, underpinned by law, to access adequate and sustainable housing- this fundamental principle is at the core of any solution to the housing crisis in Wales.

‘We are pleased to see the campaign going from strength to strength in receiving support from stakeholders across Wales – both inside and outside of the housing sector. It is testament to both the pivotal role of housing in peoples’ lives and the appetite for a seismic shift in policy that embeds a rights-based approach in law.’

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