What do we believe in?
We believe that the rights of Teessiders to decent, affordable homes must come ahead of private profit, and we will fight for an end to homelessness and housing insecurity. We know that for decades, our council housing has been sold off, and replaced with a profit-driven private rented sector that left too many facing exploitative rents and insecure private tenancies. Since 2010, drastic austerity cuts have meant that councils have been forced to slash homelessness, social care, and other vital support. These changes have caused destitution across our community, and Covid-19 has caused even more hardship, with many evictions continuing despite the lockdown and the government’s partial eviction ban.
We demand real changes to address this housing crisis, including:
- Building council houses at social rent, ensuring enough social housing for all who need it.
- Responding to the pandemic by cancelling all Covid-19 rent arrears, and instituting a real and total evictions ban for the duration of the pandemic.
- Properly regulating the housing sector, taking action against rogue landlords and ensuring all social and private homes are to a decent quality.
- Expanding homelessness support, scrapping ‘non-priority’ and ‘no recourse to public funds’ status to give everyone the help they need.
- Stopping asylum seeker evictions, ending the hostile environment which forces landlords and councils to act as Home Office border guards, and ensuring that all asylum seekers receive housing support to keep them off the streets.
- Ending discrimination against housing applicants receiving benefits, which was ruled illegal last year.
- Taking over empty buildings and putting it to use as social housing.
- Supporting unionisation of housing workers, to fight for better pay and conditions.
- Opposing fines for begging and other behaviours associated with homelessness, and responding with compassion not criminalisation.
We believe we can achieve these changes through organising as a community, showing solidarity with each other and demanding better from central and local government. We will support other groups that are also campaigning for these aims, and we will support our members and link them up with housing advice and assistance.