Hundreds to attend Wales’ biggest housing rally to shine the spotlight on housing

Hundreds of people are set to attend the Homes for Wales rally which takes place in Cardiff today (4 March).

Supporters will travel from all over Wales to highlight that housing needs to be a key political issue ahead of May’s National Assembly for Wales elections.

The event begins today at 1pm outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay with rallying speeches from organisations such as Youth Cymru, RCN Wales and the Church in Wales before campaigners march to the Hayes in Cardiff city centre.

This public-facing campaign aims to shine the spotlight on how the housing crisis is impacting people in Wales in different ways.

Emma Assender, from Cwmbran, is affected by the housing crisis. Despite getting on the housing ladder during the property boom, she could not progress further when the recession hit. Aged 41, her only viable option was to become a ‘boomerang child’ and return to live with her parents. She said: “I support Homes for Wales because being employed full time and managing my finances responsibly still doesn’t guarantee a home of my own. Home is central to all things that lead to great well-being and active participation in the community and society. Everyone needs the chance to access this, and housing needs to be more affordable for more people.”

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and Homes for Wales member, said: “The housing crisis is not just about houses – it’s about homes, it’s about people, it’s about communities. A home is one of the most basic but most vital building blocks of life and there simply aren’t enough affordable homes in Wales for those that need them. Homes for Wales speaks with one voice and calls on all politicians to commit to ending the housing crisis and building a stronger Wales. “In a recent poll by the Wales Governance Centre, housing featured sixth on the list of priorities of the Welsh electorate ahead of May’s election. The top five priorities were Health, Immigration, Economy, Welfare and Education – we know that good quality affordable housing is key to these priorities and that’s what we’ll be promoting at the Homes for Wales rally today.”

Kevin Howell, Director of CIH Cymru and Homes for Wales member added: “The housing crisis in Wales is all too real. Since 2008, house prices have risen by 16%. 152,000 20-34 years old still live at home, and 8,596 families have been on the housing waiting list since before the last election. Today’s rally will hear from some of the people who are affected by the housing crisis, and their stories are a familiar theme throughout Wales. The campaign’s message is simple – it calls for the next Welsh Government to commit to publishing an ambitious plan for housing as part of the new programme for government which sets out how they will end the housing crisis in Wales.”

Over a thousand people have supported the campaign online and celebrity supporters include Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, Welsh legend Max Boyce, Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, Welsh film producer and actor Jonny Owen and BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure.

The Homes for Wales campaign is led by a coalition of eight cross-tenure organisations – Community Housing Cymru (CHC), Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, Welsh Tenants, Home Builders Federation, Residential Landlords Association, Royal Town Planning Institute, Care & Repair Cymru and Shelter Cymru.

Editors’ notes:

Why have we set up Homes for Wales?

There is a housing crisis in Wales. Don’t believe us?

  • Since 2008, house prices have risen by 16% (more than six times the average person’s income)
  • To meet current demand in Wales, 12,000 new homes are needed each year
  • Last year, 5,070 households were accepted as homeless
  • 8,596 families have been on the housing waiting list since before the last election

But how does this affect people In Wales?

  • People are unable to save for a deposit on a house.
  • People are unable to start a family because they can’t afford to move to a bigger home.
  • People are becoming prisoners in their own home because it’s no longer suitable for their changing needs.
  • People are worried about where their children are going to live, when they fly the nest.
  • The housing crisis isn’t just about houses – it’s about homes, it’s about people, it’s about communities.

Timings for the Homes for Wales rally

When: Friday 4th March, 1pm – 5:30pm

Where: The Homes for Wales rally begins on the Senedd steps in Cardiff Bay at 1:30pm. Attendees will then march to the Hayes in Cardiff city centre between 2pm and 3pm. The Hayes event starts at 3pm and will finish at 5:30pm.

The Senedd (1:30 – 2pm)

MC for the event is Sian Lloyd, journalist and broadcaster (at both the Senedd and the Hayes). Speakers include CHC’s Chief Executive, Stuart Ropke (lead spokesman for Homes for Wales); and representatives from the Church in Wales; RCN Wales and Youth Cymru.

The Hayes (3 – 5:30pm)

A number of Homes for Wales films will be premiered featuring celebrity supporters, coalition partners’ ambitions for the campaign, interviews with people telling their housing stories and politicians stating how their party intends to end the housing crisis in Wales.   There will also be entertainment from the Cogs, Eddie’s Room, Junior Bill, Plaster Scene and Samba Oba.

Further information

To find out more about Homes for Wales, please visit our website: http://homesfor.wales/. You can pin your support and tell your housing story on the website, as well as letting us know that you’re attending the rally on 4th March.  Please contact CHC’s Media and PR Officer, Sarah Harris, if you’d like to attend the rally and/or set up interviews with Homes for Wales case studies and spokespeople. Call 029 2067 4821 / 07870 946171 or email sarah-harris@chcymru.org.uk.

Social media links Tweet your support and follow @HomesforWales. Keep up to date with the #homesforwales stream to find out more, and you can also ‘like’ the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homesforwales

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