Homeless Advocate Speaks on the Housing Crisis & Lived Experience

Can those with lived experience fix the housing crisis in the uk?

In an era where the very concept of home should provide security and stability, the harsh reality of a housing crisis challenges this fundamental ideal. Daniel Harris, thats me!! I passionately advocate for people experiencing homelessness & lobby for housing reform. As someone intimately acquainted with the struggles through lived experience, I speak and dissect the complexities of this crisis in Brighton & Hove.

As we explore my insights, we must confront pressing concerns that revolve around excessive spending on temporary accommodation, the reliance on private funding for homeless services, the inefficacy of temporary housing solutions, and the critical need for empowerment of those with lived experience.

Key Aspects Explored:

  1. Excessive Spending on Temporary Accommodation: I shed light on the staggering financial publicly funded investment poured into temporary accommodations like homeless shelters, B&Bs, hostels, and hotels. The immense expenditure prompts questions about cost-effectiveness and the sustainability of this approach.

  2. Private Funding for Homeless Services: An exploration of the heavy reliance on private funding sources for homeless services raises concerns regarding accountability and the true motivations of private organisations addressing homelessness.

  3. Ineffectiveness of Temporary Accommodation: The inefficiency of private sector buildings and temporary accommodations in providing a lasting solution for homelessness is a critical concern, prompting a reevaluation of the suitability of these setups for individuals experiencing homelessness.

  4. Lack of Empowerment for People with Lived Experience: Addressing the need to empower individuals with lived experience, particularly in the context of homelessness and domestic violence, reveals substantial concerns about the existing service provision model and the limited role given to those directly affected by these issues.

  5. Slow Response to Evictions: I voice concerns about the sluggish response of Brighton & Hove City Council toward eviction cases, particularly for vulnerable individuals like the elderly with learning disabilities. The tardiness raises questions about the effectiveness and timeliness in preventing homelessness.

  6. Inadequate Support for Abusers: Highlighting the lack of support and intervention for individuals perpetrating abuse underscores the necessity to break the cycle of abuse by addressing its root causes. I discuss casework where better intervention can allow both parties to move on.

  7. Third-Party Organisations Handling Sensitive Data: Expressing concerns about third-party organisations handling sensitive information without explicit client consent emphasises the critical need to ensure data privacy and security, especially in sensitive contexts like homelessness and abuse.

  8. Privatisation and Lack of Accountability: An exploration of the privatisation of services related to housing and homelessness reveals potential gaps in accountability, underscoring the necessity for transparency and public oversight.

  9. Social Cleansing and Gentrification: Addressing the alarming issue of social cleansing and gentrification, where local populations are pushed out of their own cities, calls for a reevaluation of housing policies to safeguard communities and social cohesion.

  10. Need for Participation and Rights: Emphasising the need for meaningful participation and advocating for a Charter of Rights for individuals with lived experience underlines the importance of representation and the protection of rights for the vulnerable.

Future Reform Must Include Those With Lived Experience

In addition to highlighting these critical aspects, I also advocate for policy changes. I stress the importance of integrating housing and support services within local authorities, promoting the Community Wealth Building model, creating a Charter of Rights for People with Lived Experience, enhancing transparency and accountability, policy reformation prioritising housing accessibility and affordability, support for perpetrators of abuse, and the full implementation of the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Homeless Bill of Rights, finally I briefly mention my research project locally into the state of homelessness today in Brighton and Hove which you can read here.

Prioritising Reform For Brighton & Hove

  1. Integration of Services: Advocate for the integration of housing and support services within local authorities. This policy change would ensure a seamless and coordinated approach to addressing homelessness and housing issues.

  2. Community Wealth Building: Promote the adoption of a Community Wealth Building model, which aims to localise and democratise the economy. This policy shift could empower local communities to have more control over their resources and development, potentially leading to more affordable housing options.

  3. Charter of Rights for People with Lived Experience: Propose the creation of a Charter of Rights specifically for individuals with lived experience. This policy would formalise the rights and representation of those who have faced homelessness and housing challenges.

  4. Transparency and Accountability: Advocate for increased transparency and accountability in governance related to housing and homelessness policies. This could involve policy changes to ensure that decision-making processes are open to public scrutiny and adhere to the principles of transparency and fairness.

  5. Policy Reformation: Call for policy reforms that prioritise housing accessibility and affordability. These reforms might include changes to regulations around rental housing, affordable housing quotas in new developments, and rent control measures.

  6. Support for Perpetrators of Abuse: Suggest policies that provide support and intervention for individuals who perpetrate abuse, addressing the root causes of abusive behavior. This could include access to counseling and rehabilitation programs.

  7. Domestic Abuse Bill Implementation: Advocate for the full implementation of the Domestic Abuse Bill to provide priority assistance to survivors of domestic abuse, ensuring their housing needs are met.

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