Amplifying Voices

Birmingham fair housing campaign

We’ve built resilience, confidence, hope, and belief in collective action amongst our members – and successfully lobbied Birmingham City Council to declare a housing emergency.

The Campaign

In February 2020, Shelter Birmingham launched a listening campaign called ‘Home Truths’. The aim was to hear the views of people affected by the housing crisis in Birmingham.

A year later, some of those who had taken part in the listening campaign met online to examine the findings. The group included people with personal experience of being homeless. Over four months, the group met with housing policy experts to help them understand the root causes of the housing crisis.

At the end of the process, the Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign was established. In November 2021, the campaign published ‘The People’s Manifesto for Fair Housing’ as their vision for change and their call for action, in response to Birmingham’s housing crisis.

Sponsored by

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awards

Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign manifesto, report and posters. Credit: BFHC

To be shortlisted for this award is a tribute to our team and all the hard work we’ve put in and all that we’ve achieved so far. Our individual lived experiences have paved the way for the recognition of our work. Our campaign team is diverse, honest, respectful, and fun! We’re a small group but, boy, is our voice mighty! We’ve overcome many challenges and know that there are many more ahead of us, but we’ll celebrate this nomination and it will play a big part in spurring us on. Thank you!”

Karen, Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign

awards

Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign manifesto, report and posters. Credit: BFHC

Our individual lived experiences have paved the way for the recognition of our work. Our campaign team is diverse, honest, respectful, and fun! We’re a small group but, boy, is our voice mighty! We’ve overcome many challenges and know that there are many more ahead of us, but we’ll celebrate this nomination and it will play a big part in spurring us on.”

Karen, Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign

The Change

The Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign brings together people affected by the housing crisis and their allies. Their vision is for everyone in Birmingham to have an affordable, safe, and secure home as a human right. Their manifesto is endorsed by 23 organisations, including trade unions.

The campaign’s strategy is to amplify the voices of those affected by the housing crisis and use the power of personal narrative to influence change. Having been officially endorsed by the Birmingham Mail, the city’s biggest newspaper, the campaign has worked closely with journalists to share people’s stories and to create headlines that shine a light on the housing crisis.

In pursuit of their vision, campaign members have met with decision-makers, councillors, and MPs. They’ve addressed public meetings and demonstrations and given evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees. The campaign has produced a powerful promo video and, in October 2022, they projected a video outside the Conservative Party Conference calling on the Government to build more homes for social rent.

The lobbying of the campaign has contributed to Birmingham City Council: 

  • introducing a selective licensing scheme in 25 wards
  • moving policy issues relating to Traveller communities from ‘Anti-Social Behaviour & Neighbourhood Disputes’ into ‘Housing Policy’
  • establishing a working group to discuss Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues, including the provision of sites
  • declaring a housing emergency!

The Future

Since the tragic death of two-year old Awaab Ishak from a respiratory condition caused the mould in his Rochdale home, the campaign plans are to continue to lobby social housing providers in their city to take urgent action to stop families being harmed by mould. They also plan to fight for a ‘Charter of rights for people in emergency and temporary accommodation’.

With over 3,500 people signing to support ‘The People’s Manifesto for Fair Housing’, the campaign will continue to focus on building even greater power in the community and recruiting new members to join their steering group in 2023 to enable them to take more further action.


Who else was involved?

The Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign has been supported by Shelter as well as the ‘Birmingham Mail’ and other endorsers listed at the foot of this page:

https://england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/campaigns/community_organising_birmingham