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London Mayor elections

Posted22.04.24

London Mayor elections matter for homelessness

On May 2nd, Londoners will vote for the next London Mayor and Assembly Members as part of local elections happening across the UK. Voters will go to the polls with many different considerations, but one that we encourage you to consider is the issue of homelessness.

Elections present an important opportunity to shape the future of housing and homelessness policies in our city. London’s elected officials will determine how homelessness is tackled during the next four-year term, from allocating resources to implementing effective strategies.

Your vote on May 2nd could have ramifications for homelessness in several ways.

Housing:

Firstly, there is the impact that the results will have on housing policy. Access to affordable housing is a key factor in alleviating homelessness, so consider reading the housing policies proposed by each candidate and/ or their party. Are they committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing? Do they have an explanation for how they will do it?

The Mayor has considerable authority over housing policy in London, including the power to set strategic objectives, devise long-term plans and set targets for affordable provision. Their vision and leadership will help to shape the overarching direction of this important issue.

Advocacy:

The Mayor has a prominent platform to advocate for policies prioritising homelessness prevention and support, both at the local and national levels. They can use their influence to raise awareness, mobilise public support, and lobby central government. They can also amplify the voices of those affected by homelessness and drive systemic change. This can result in increased funding, policy reforms, and legislative measures to address the underlying causes of homelessness.

Evidence from previous elections also shows how political leadership can lead to genuine change. New, targeted interventions can be setup by London’s leaders and then coordinated between local authorities, charities, and government agencies.

Funding:

The Mayor plays a critical role in allocating financial resources to homelessness projects and support services. They can set budgets for housing programmes, outreach projects, and wider social services within the Greater London Authority (GLA). They can also make decisions on funding that effect related services like mental health projects and wider community support programmes.

We witness the human cost of inadequate housing policies every day. Behind the statistics are real people, facing many challenges. The decisions made on May 2nd will shape the future of London and the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Together, we can create a London where everyone has a place to call home. But it starts with choosing leaders committed to making homelessness a priority and implementing policies that will be effective.

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