General election 2024

A UK general election has been called for 4 July.

We’ll make sure the voices of people experiencing poverty, and inequality in health and housing, are heard.

To do this, we’ll engage with candidates from across the political spectrum. Porchlight, like all charities, is not a political organisation. Rather, we see this as an opportunity to inform the future government about the devastating issues our clients are facing and to campaign for a safe home, better life and fairer future for everyone.

Addressing the housing crisis

Unaffordable rents and mortgages, combined with sky high bills, are pushing people into homelessness. The number of families living in temporary accommodation, unsafe and insecure housing has reached breaking point.

The next government must prioritise building more social housing – 90,000 new homes are needed each year to keep up with demand – where people can afford to live without being pushed to the brink.

We also need a significant government investment to improve existing social housing and temporary accommodation that’s cold, damp and mouldy. Pressure must also be put on landlords to improve private rental properties. A review of the Decent Homes Standard, which is currently on the government’s agenda, must be concluded swiftly to ensure nobody has to endure a living situation that affects their physical or mental health.

A benefits system that works for everyone

We need a benefits system that protects and supports people who are struggling to access the services they need to get and stay well.

Currently, things are extremely precarious for those who need a helping hand in the form of benefits. They are left struggling to pay their mortgage or rent and have to make up the difference with money that would otherwise be spent on basic human needs: heating and food.

It has recently been suggested that a review is carried out about how people access benefits when they are unwell. Doing this won’t help anyone who has a disability, ill health or mental health condition that prevents them from working. Instead, it could push them further into poverty and their mental health will worsen because there aren’t enough services to support them.

The next government must ensure that benefits not only cover the basic cost of living, but also give them a chance to address the issues they are facing and, when the time is right, get into work that’s meaningful, secure and fairly paid.

Proper investment in homelessness services

Homelessness is rising. Help for people facing homelessness is disappearing due to funding cuts. The next government must fix this.

Everybody facing the devastation of street homelessness must have someone to turn to for help. This includes specialist help for people who need extra support to leave the streets behind, including young people, women who have experienced violence and trauma, and those with complex mental health needs.

Supported housing exists to help people who have nowhere else to turn, but it's rapidly disappearing.

Homelessness, poor mental health or domestic abuse are just some of the reasons a person might need supported housing. It's about more than just putting a roof over someone’s head – it’s also about providing specialist support to people living in these properties. Typically, supported housing is funded by councils. But many councils are facing extreme financial challenges and are struggling to fund them. As a result, lots of supported accommodation – including Porchlight’s homelessness accommodation – is at risk of closure.

The next government must provide long-term funding that will keep supported housing open and ensure it’s available to people no matter where they live.

Better mental health support

People’s mental wellbeing is often impacted by factors largely beyond their control. Surviving on low incomes, having an insecure housing situation or experiencing difficulties with employment are all linked to poor mental health and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

We’re calling for better mental health support to be available to more people, more quickly, for as long as they need it. It must be properly funded by the next government.

To help people thrive, they need support that:

  • prevents them from falling into further hardship
  • gives them the tools to better manage their mental health
  • helps them to feel included, valued and more connected to their local community.

It’s also time to update the Mental Health Act – the law that says when you can be detained (or sectioned) and receive mental health treatment against your will. Charities have been calling for it to be improved, so people detained under the Act have more say about the treatment they receive and can appeal its use.

Improved mental health support for children and young people

The number of young people experiencing mental illness is at a record high.

Referrals to mental health professionals are rocketing and people are struggling to get the support they need. The pandemic exacerbated these issues – lockdowns left many young people without safe spaces to be themselves or access to support networks.

The next government must provide a response that recognises the scale of the challenges that young people face.

Properly funded mental health services will prevent their problems escalating to a point where more specialist support is needed. It will also allow issues that could lead to homelessness in later life to be addressed.

Ensuring everybody can vote

Poverty, and inequality in health and housing, can make you feel invisible to the rest of society. When people are rebuilding their lives, it's important to let them know they are valued and that their opinion matters.

We’re ensuring the people we support have photo ID by helping them to apply for a ‘voter authority certificate’. We will be encouraging them to make an informed choice and vote for a party that aligns with their values.