Heading into the 2016 Mayoral election, a response to the housing crisis was top of the agenda. This was in large part to the campaigning efforts of ACORN members for the previous two years in which we used direct action to stop revenge evictions, win repairs and deposit repayments, halted the auctioning off of council housing and stood behind our Ethical Lettings Charter. We put the city on notice that any politician wanting to be taken seriously had to engage with us and the issues affecting our members.
Joining with advice centres, housing associations and others we created the Mayor for Homes coalition and called on all candidates to
- Set up a majority owned, but independently managed, vehicle to deliver new homes – with a minimum of 30% affordable.
- Build a minimum of 2,500 affordable homes by 2021.
- Use its land and powers to work in partnership to build as many new affordable homes as possible.
- Introduce a city-wide landlord licensing scheme.
- Commit to full enforcement and application of Council powers with regards to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and an end to ineffective informal action.
- Commit to active and ongoing support and promotion of the Ethical Lettings Charter
Speaking at events across the city, meeting with candidates and organising hustings events ACORN and our coalition partners extracted firm commitments from candidates, including the eventual winner Marvin Rees and who has made tackling these issues the measuring stick for the success of his administration.