Cathy at 50 campaign

Fifty years ago Ken Loach’s landmark film about homelessness Cathy Come Home was screened for the first time.

To mark the anniversary, Inside Housing has launched its Cathy at 50 campaign to investigate the current homelessness landscape, raise awareness and promote innovative best practice to help end rough sleeping.

About Cathy at 50

The scale of the problem makes it imperative that councils, housing associations and the government work to find solutions. Rough sleeping in England jumped 30% last year, when 3,569 people were recorded on the streets. This is double the level recorded in 2010.

In order to help, the Cathy at 50 campaign will look to build skills and awareness both inside the housing sector and externally. For starters, Inside Housing is kicking of the campaign with a series of in-depth investigations and pieces of research throughout the anniversary week.

We will also be reaching beyond the sector, by launching a film competition – Reel Homes – in an attempt to engage young filmmakers in this crucial subject to produce a Cathy Come Home for the 21st Century. Housing associations have already pledged more than £10,000 to help fund the film and provide prize money for the winner. And we are also calling on the sector and government to look at adopting a Housing First approach to help tackle entrenched rough sleeping. The model, which involved providing permanent housing backed up by tailored support, appears to have had a dramatic impact in countries like the USA and Finland.

Finally, we are calling on the UK government to commit to ending rough sleeping, and halving the current figure by 2020 as a staging post. As we look to mark the 50th anniversary of a film that got many of our readers involved in the housing sector in the first place, it is time to renew the fight.

Cathy at 50 campaign aims:

  • To launch a film competition to produce a finished work about homelessness or the impact of the housing crisis .
  • A week of detailed research and stories from the frontline to mark the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home and promote a wider debate about the current homelessness crisis.
  • Call for councils to explore housing first as a default option for long-term rough sleepers and commission Housing First schemes, housing associations to identify additional stock for Housing First schemes and government to support five Housing First projects, collect evidence and distribute best practice.
  • Call for the UK government to commit to ending rough sleeping and to halve rough sleeping by 2020 as the first step to achieving this.


Homelessness on film Video

03/01/2017 | By Kate Youde

From I, Daniel Blake to A Street Cat Named Bob, films about housing and homelessness are entering the mainstream. But have they made a difference to people working on the frontline? Kate Youde finds out

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Out of the classroom Video

20/12/2016 | By Joe Dart

Fifty years after Cathy Come Home, Joe Dart finds out what the next generation of housing professionals are being taught about homelessness


Off the streets

25/11/2016 | By Nick Johnstone

Housing First has all but eradicated rough sleeping in Finland. Nick Johnstone looks at how it is catching on in the UK


Reel Homes film competition


Let’s create a Cathy Come Home for the 21st century, says Martin Hilditch

For use in Inside Housing, 18 November 2016

A modern day Cathy Video


In Cathy Come Home, a family’s homelessness leads to their children being taken into care. Half a century later in modern Britain, it is still happening. Martin Hilditch investigates

Autumn statement


My first year with Crisis at Christmas

05/01/2017 | By Lucy Brown

Inside Housing sub-editor Lucy Brown shares her thoughts on her first year as a volunteer with Crisis at Christmas


Peer support

25/11/2016 | By Jack Jeffery

A new project aims to show that early intervention is key to addressing the homelessness crisis, says Jack Jeffery


Turning the tide

24/11/2016 | By David Ireland

Housing First is a success story – the UK should learn from it, says David Ireland


Complex issues

22/11/2016 | By Cath McAndry

Rough sleeping is on the increase but there are effective approaches, says Cath McAndry


History repeats

22/11/2016 | By Mike Andrews

Services for homeless people are just as relevant today as they were decades ago, says Mike Andrews

For use in Inside Housing, 18 November 2016

Survey reveals thousands living in caravans and mobile homes


More than 12,000 housing benefit payments are being made to addresses in caravan and mobile home parks, a new Inside Housing investigation has revealed.