Breaking barriers: voting rights for those in supported housing

In the lead-up to the London Mayor and London Assembly elections on May 2nd, it is important to ensure that everyone, including those in supported housing, feels empowered to vote. Despite facing various challenges, people in supported housing have the same fundamental right to vote. However, practical barriers such as uncertainty about their living situation, lack of information about the electoral process, and feelings of disenfranchisement may prevent their engagement. This blog looks at the barriers they may encounter in accessing the electoral process. It also shows the importance of participation in influencing housing policies that will directly impact their lives.

Barriers preventing engagement:

For some, the uncertainty of their living situation may make it challenging to focus on civic engagement. When you are struggling to find housing security, participating in elections may understandably fall by the wayside. Some may struggle with mental health issues, which could impact their motivation and ability to engage. Stigma surrounding mental health may also contribute to feelings of shame or inadequacy, further discouraging participation.

People in supported housing may not be adequately informed about the electoral process. This could include how and where to register to vote, or the candidates and their policies. Without access to reliable information, they may feel disengaged or disinterested in participating. The voter registration process may be daunting or confusing. Particularly, if they lack access to the necessary documentation or face administrative difficulties.

People experiencing homelessness may face stigma and discrimination. This can contribute to feelings of disenfranchisement and exclusion from the political process. This sense of marginalisation may discourage them from exercising their right to vote. They may perceive elected officials as not genuinely representing their interests or hearing their voices, leading to apathy or distrust towards voting.

Reasons to vote:

Despite these challenges, it is essential for people living in supported housing to vote. Every vote counts. By participating in the democratic process, people in supported housing can ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed by policymakers. The outcomes of elections directly impact housing policies, support services, and funding allocations. This can significantly affect the lives of those in supported housing. By voting, individuals can advocate for policies that prioritise their needs and improve their quality of life.

Voting can provide those living in supported housing with a sense of empowerment and agency. It allows them to have a say in decisions that impact their communities and to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. By participating in the democratic process, they can contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for themselves.

Committed to supporting our customers in exercising their right to vote, we have offered information and resources to assist them in navigating the electoral process. This included voter registration support and access to materials about the candidates and their parties.

We urge everyone, regardless of their housing situation, to exercise their right to vote and to stand up for their rights.

To find out more about the elections and how your vote can have an impact on homelessness read our blog.

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