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.
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.