In 2014, we took the first steps of a new fight for housing justice. Then last year, as the number of UK protests around housing more than doubled, ACORN grew to involve 10,000+ supporters in more than 5 cities.
Now, in 2016, we’re going to build a movement.
In just 18 months, ACORN members have
- won home repairs worth £100,000+;
- stopped evictions;
- raised renters voices in the media and at the heart of local decision making;
- secured historic political support for our renters charter, and;
- we’ve financially secured our core operations by winning a huge £75,000 grant from the People’s Health Trust to continue our original work in Bristol!
It would be madness to stop now.
11 million of us are renting, many of us in insecure, unaffordable, unhealthy and unsafe homes. Yesterday, this report showed that out of 52000 complaints, Councils didnt even investigate ⅔ of them. Last week landlord politicians voted down a law requiring that our homes are fit for human habitation. And in cities like Bristol, Brighton and London, rent rises tightened the squeeze on millions of us, while the 100 richest families added £57bn to their wealth since 2010. But...
...we CAN. WIN. BETTER.
Last year campaigning led to the law being toughened against revenge evictions (when tenants are evicted for complaining about repairs). Landlords and letting agents began signing up to our Ethical Lettings Charter. And a student rent strike in London saw renters win £100,000+
That’s not enough to solve the problem, but it is progress - and it tells me exactly what we need to do...
We need to put the power to build our movement in your hands.
In 2016 we need you to take the lead in your community.
Members across Bristol have already started a Facebook group to support each other with housing advice and emotional encouragement. Members in London and Newcastle have launched new groups (1, 2) and taken their first campaign actions (3, 4) and members in South Bristol and East Birmingham have started community organising in their areas.
We have organisers across the UK ready to support you to bring your friends, families, neighbours, colleagues and social networks together.
Soon we’ll be talking to you about starting groups in your area, or connecting your existing groups to ACORN. But if you’re keen to get started, don’t wait! Volunteer here now.
And we need you to take the lead in ACORN.
As well as Facebook groups for local organising, we’re going to add new ways of making ACORN decisions nationally including online polls and ways to make and discuss suggestions.
And finally, later in 2016 we will be looking for ACORN activists to stand in our very first national elections to lead ACORN on a day-to-day basis. If this could be you, keep an eye out!
In some ways, 2016 might be tough.
Millions more of us are stuck in poor accommodation and I’m frustrated, angry, to read Oxfam’s report yesterday showing that the richest 1% really do now own more than the other 99% of humanity.
But when I look at how we’re coming together to help each other out, win campaigns and fight for fairness, I couldn’t be more hopeful.
And on that basis I am very confident to say: Happy New Year! Let’s organise!
ACORN National Organiser
P.S. If you support what we’re doing, please consider setting up a regular donation here. We might keep securing funding, but we might not, and I’d MUCH rather we could be totally independent and free to campaign together. We’re on our way to that goal - please help if you can.