Where next with the Housing crisis for women?

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2017 National Women's Conference
13 October 2016
Carried as Amended

This generation is facing a housing crisis that is supporting ‘generation rent’ and the ‘boomerang’ generation. The majority of young women, the low paid, and those on a fixed income (including disabled and/or retired women) are struggling to find acceptable and affordable housing as private rental costs continue to rise. Between 2014 – 15 (Guardian Jan 2016) rents in Bristol and Brighton increased by 18% and 8% in London whilst the national average increase was 4.9%. For many members affected by austerity, pay freezes and increasing living costs, the growth of rental charges is just not sustainable.

Some Private landlords are also not being held accountable for substandard accommodation because many people fear a complaint would result in eviction. Many are on short hold tenancies and in houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) that put women, especially young single parents, more at risk of financial exploitation.

The limited availability of social and council owned housing is a further area of concern. The waiting lists are long and are often allocated to Housing Associations. As a result women are forced to look for housing in the private sector, where there are less securities and higher rents.

Homelessness for those in work is also on the rise. The so-called “hidden homeless” are often young women in low to average paid jobs. They are in vulnerable situations as they depend on temporary arrangements “ sofa surfing” with friends or relations. As private rents rise beyond what is affordable they often finally resort to HMO’s, moving away from the area where they currently live.

Conference calls on the National Women’s committee to work with the NEC and Labour link to :

1)Highlight the issues faced by women in private rented housing with Young , Black and Disabled members and report their findings back to Conference in 2018

2)Campaign for increased social housing and for all housing, including the private rented sector, to be of an acceptable standard

3)Support and promote the work of UNISON’s There for you and Branch Welfare Officers to support women facing housing issues

4)Work with Young Members Forum and SOG’s to produce campaigning materials