As we step towards General Election territory, Emmaus is proud to be working with others across the sector to make sure homelessness is front and centre of the political agenda.

With figures published last month showing a shocking 27% rise in rough sleeping, it was timely for Emmaus UK to be invited by Homeless Link to attend a Parliamentary lobby on ‘Ending Homelessness Together’.

Emmaus UK has received specific funding to undertake a project focused on the implementation of the government’s Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act, which went through Parliament in August last year and is all about trying to raise standards and quality in different types of supported housing, including homelessness accommodation.

Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK, said:

“As the General Election gets ever closer, and with homelessness rising to worrying levels, this is a crucial time for us to be stepping up our policy and campaigns work.

“While the Supported Housing Act has been created to target poor quality accommodation, everyone will have to meet the new standards, including Emmaus communities.

“We want to play our part in ensuring the roll-out of the Act’s measures are done in an effective way, that supports what we do, and we hope to hear more detail soon on the government’s next steps around the Act, and how we can help to shape it at Emmaus.”

Our Policy, Campaigns and External Affairs Manager, Sam Dalton, and Emmaus South London’s Henry Mullins attended the Ending Homelessness Together event in Westminster last week, and heard from Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats on their plans to reduce homelessness.

What the main parties said

Speakers at the Parliamentary lobby event.


Mike Amesbury, the Shadow Homelessness Minister, opened proceedings by setting out Labour’s “three pillars” for tackling homelessness, centred on joining up government departments better, building more affordable homes, and prioritising policies which prevent people becoming homeless in the first place.

He was unwilling to commit to a specific target of new social rent homes being built per year, but said more detail would be forthcoming in Labour’s manifesto.


The current Homelessness Minister, Felicity Buchan, took a more reflective view, and highlighted some of the important steps taken by the current government, such as the £2.4bn in funding put towards ending homelessness, and the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018.

She too said more affordable housing was key, as well as joint working with local councils on areas like data and reporting, and making sure local housing plans were up to date.

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Helen Morgan was perhaps most ambitious in the commitments she made around affordable housing, saying her party would build 150,000 a year if in power.

She criticised the government for delaying the banning of no-fault evictions, as well as for its proposed Criminal Justice Bill which repeats many of the same mistakes as the old Vagrancy Act, in criminalising homelessness.

Finally, towards the end of the day, we heard from the co-chairs of the cross-party parliamentary group on ending homelessness, Labour’s Paula Barker and Conservative Bob Blackman.

As backbench MPs, they were more able to push their parties to be bolder, for example by calling for a commitment to 90,000 social rent homes a year, or long-term funding for homelessness.

What further action does Emmaus want to see?

Emmaus UK supports the manifesto published by Homeless Link in October 2023, which set out four broad ambitions for the next government:

  • Everyone has a safe, secure, suitable home in which to thrive: 90,000 social rent homes should be built each year, and Local Housing Allowance unfrozen so it covers more market rent properties
  • Every arm of government working together and playing their part: a cross-government task force on ending homelessness should be led by the Cabinet Office
  • A homelessness system that works for all: ensuring a diverse network of services that embed person-centred, trauma-focused care
  • Sustained investment preventing and ending homelessness – for good: reviewing the current short-term funding and replacing it with long-term, ringfenced funding for ending homelessness

Sam Dalton, Emmaus UK’s Policy, Campaigns and External Affairs Manager, said:

“It was great to hear support for these broad ambitions from the politicians, for example in the commitments made to building affordable housing, or the need for more cross-government working on ending homelessness. But it was the specifics that we need as a group of organisations to push further on, including the aim of 90,000 social rent homes a year, and a definite commitment around establishing a cross-government task force on ending homelessness.”

How does this link to the Supported Housing Act?

As well as joining the calls for the broad range of policies to help end homelessness, the funding Emmaus UK has received to undertake a project focused on the implementation of the government’s Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act will help to achieve some of the big ambitions set out in the Homeless Link manifesto, such as “everyone having a safe, secure, suitable home in which to thrive”, and “creating a homelessness system that works for all”.