The image below was a memorable press release from Generation Rent before the General Election, suggesting that in order to solve the housing crisis, we might want to consider turning one of our most famous – and most in need of renovation – buildings in London into affordable flats.
Generation Rent have consistently brought renters’ issues to the top of the news agenda which is incredibly important for raising awareness. They also, more importantly, support local renters groups so that they can use this awareness to get some campaigning and lobbying done.
Unfortunately, Generation Rent are struggling to find funding. They’ve been crowdfunding and I urge all of Let Down’s supporters to consider donating to the organisation. If they reach their minimum target, they will have just enough resources to keep going as a volunteer-run organisation.
Whilst Let Down started off in 2013, Generation Rent reached out to us and have been incredibly supportive. Let Down started off by having discussions with local renters groups in London because we wanted to have something similar in Cardiff. The groups, like Hackney Digs and Waltham Forest Renters, are very much grassroots campaign groups who have done amazing things. But when Generation Rent sprung up, there was suddenly a UK organisation that Let Down could also discuss campaign ideas with and keep on top of UK-wide housing legislation and campaigns.
Their General Election campaigning was brilliant and meant that renters had somewhere they could go to for advice, research and organisational support when they wanted to set up their own local groups and campaign their local politicians. Generation Rent set up some of their own groups (they have two fantastic organisers they’ve employed to work in two English cities) and affiliated with organisations like us that were already set up. This also means that Welsh renters have been signposted to us from Generation Rent which is wonderful, because we simply don’t have the resources to do much outreach work ourselves.
They held a conference in February where we gave a workshop on how to set up a renters campaign group, using our experience of lobbying the Welsh Assembly through, predominantly, online means. They literally brought together renters from across the country to work on how to fix the housing crisis, which is more than any government has done, let alone anyone else.
Even though they are now struggling to survive, their staff are still on hand to support us every day. They’re currently helping us with a new website tool which will be incredibly helpful in the months to come.
Let Down has really benefitted and I do wonder if we’d still be going today without them. So please, in the last few days of their crowdfunding (deadline is Monday 31st August), spare what you can. Even £1 makes a difference, especially if every renter in the country were to do it. Let’s try and keep them going. UK renters will be all the better off for them, trust me.