Unseen Tours joins 28 homelessness organisations to sign open letter to Conservative leadership candidates

Unseen Tours has signed an open letter calling on Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to take action on homelessness if elected as the next Prime Minister. 

The letter was co-ordinated and sent by the charity Homeless Link on Tuesday 23rd August and was signed by 28 organisations from across the housing and homelessness sector, including Crisis, Shelter and St Mungo’s. 

It calls on the victorious leadership candidate to pledge to continue to strive to meet the Conservative manifesto commitment of ending rough sleeping in England by 2024 and to publish a strategy by the end of 2022 to outline how they plan to achieve this. 

Additionally, it calls on Truss or Sunak to ensure the full list of reforms outlined in the recent White Paper; ‘A fairer private rented sector’ is brought forward as legislation when parliament returns in September, including fulfilling the manifesto pledge of ending ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions. 

The letter is sent at a time when inflation in the UK has risen to 10.1%, a forty year high. At the same time private sector rents are at record levels and are predicted to rise further and many homelessness services are reporting an increase in people needing their services. 

Jayni Gudka, CEO at Unseen Tours, said:

“We are grateful for Homeless Link for co-ordinating this open letter to our future Prime Ministerial candidates. Homelessness costs in London costs the taxpayer at least £288,106,000 each year. With the cost of living rising so quickly, we are already seeing a rapid increase in this. With the right political will, as seen by the rapid response during the lockdowns these past few years for example, we have seen that it is possible to find solutions to end rough sleeping. 

Homelessness needs to be put back on the agenda again. More can, and needs to be done to end rough sleeping and homelessness. And this is why we are joining these other homelessness sector organisations to urge the next Prime Minister to deliver on the promise to end rough sleeping, reform rents and prevent soaring homelessness caused by the increase in cost of living.”

Rick Henderson, CEO at Homeless Link, the national membership charity for frontline homelessness organisations who co-ordinated the letter, said:  

“Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were elected on a Conservative party commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024, and yet, despite government figures showing homelessness increased by 11% in the first 3 months of this year, both leadership candidates have barely mentioned homelessness throughout their campaigns. 

 “It’s vital that when parliament returns next month, our new Prime Minister acts decisively to prevent a wave of homelessness. We hope that this letter, and the weight of concern it demonstrates from across the homelessness sector, will put the issue of homelessness back on their agenda, accelerating much needed reform of the private rented sector and setting out a clear plan to meet the target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.”

Notes to editors

Full letter, including list of signatories, is available upon request. 

About Homeless Link

Homeless Link is the national membership charity for frontline homelessness services, representing close 900 organisations across England. We work to improve services through research, guidance and learning, and campaign for policy change that will ensure that everyone has a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.

About Unseen Tours

Unseen tours is a social enterprise providing meaningful work opportunities in the tourism, events and cultural heritage sectors for individuals who have experienced homelessness, alongside other forms of discrimination and marginalisation.