Housing group lobbies Lords over homelessness

A scene from the play, Cathy

A scene from the play, Cathy

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A Hemel-based housing association has joined a national campaign against homelessness.

Hightown Housing Association helped organise a reception of influential people at the House of Lords to support the Homes for Cathy campaign.

MPs, peers and housing campaigners united at the reception last month to showcase the continuing problem of homelessness.

Lord Kerslake hosted the acclaimed theatre company Cardboard Citizens with an abridged performance of their powerful play, Cathy.

Fresh from a sell-out national tour, the play is a modern reinterpretation of Ken Loach’s groundbreaking Cathy Come Home.

Guests were presented with the Cathy Laws – ideas for new ways to tackle homelessness, compiled from suggestions from Cathy audiences across the country, including two performances in St Albans in November.

Speakers at the event were the Bishop of Rochester, Bob Blackman MP, sponsor of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP.

The reception was organised by the Homes for Cathy group, an alliance of housing associations which came together to mark the 50th anniversary of Loach’s original 1960s drama and to raise awareness of homelessness.

Hightown chief executive David Bogle said: “The anniversary of Cathy Come Home has reminded housing associations of their original purpose – to provide affordable homes to house homeless people. This purpose is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago – 120,000 children spent last Christmas in temporary accommodation and rough sleeping is on the increase.”

Hightown manages four services for the homeless in Herts, including Open Door, Martin House and Kent House in St Albans.