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04 March 2016

Hundreds to attend Wales’ biggest housing rally to shine the spotlight on housing

Hundreds of people are set to attend the Homes for Wales rally which takes place in Cardiff today (4 March).

Supporters will travel from all over Wales to highlight that housing needs to be a key political issue ahead of May’s National Assembly for Wales elections.

The event begins today at 1pm outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay with rallying speeches from organisations such as Youth Cymru, RCN Wales and the Church in Wales before campaigners march to the Hayes in Cardiff city centre.

This public-facing campaign aims to shine the spotlight on how the housing crisis is impacting people in Wales in different ways.

Emma Assender, from Cwmbran, is affected by the housing crisis. Despite getting on the housing ladder during the property boom, she could not progress further when the recession hit. Aged 41, her only viable option was to become a ‘boomerang child’ and return to live with her parents. She said: “I support Homes for Wales because being employed full time and managing my finances responsibly still doesn’t guarantee a home of my own. Home is central to all things that lead to great well-being and active participation in the community and society. Everyone needs the chance to access this, and housing needs to be more affordable for more people.”

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and Homes for Wales member, said: “The housing crisis is not just about houses – it’s about homes, it’s about people, it’s about communities. A home is one of the most basic but most vital building blocks of life and there simply aren’t enough affordable homes in Wales for those that need them. Homes for Wales speaks with one voice and calls on all politicians to commit to ending the housing crisis and building a stronger Wales.

“In a recent poll by the Wales Governance Centre, housing featured sixth on the list of priorities of the Welsh electorate ahead of May’s election. The top five priorities were Health, Immigration, Economy, Welfare and Education - we know that good quality affordable housing is key to these priorities and that’s what we’ll be promoting at the Homes for Wales rally today.”

Kevin Howell, Director of CIH Cymru and Homes for Wales member added: “The housing crisis in Wales is all too real. Since 2008, house prices have risen by 16%. 152,000 20-34 years old still live at home, and 8,596 families have been on the housing waiting list since before the last election. Today’s rally will hear from some of the people who are affected by the housing crisis, and their stories are a familiar theme throughout Wales. The campaign’s message is simple - it calls for the next Welsh Government to commit to publishing an ambitious plan for housing as part of the new programme for government which sets out how they will end the housing crisis in Wales.”

Over a thousand people have supported the campaign online and celebrity supporters include Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, Welsh legend Max Boyce, Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, Welsh film producer and actor Jonny Owen and BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure.

The Homes for Wales campaign is led by a coalition of eight cross-tenure organisations - Community Housing Cymru (CHC), Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, Welsh Tenants, Home Builders Federation, Residential Landlords Association, Royal Town Planning Institute, Care & Repair Cymru and Shelter Cymru.