Six bike riders from Orbit Heart of England were raising awareness of a national campaign to end the housing crisis in a generation by cycling from Nuneaton to Northampton on Saturday 14 March.
The Orbit cyclists joined other housing associations, including Northwards Housing, residents and members of the public who are walking, running and cycling to complete their legs of the Relay to the Rally, stopping off in more than 50 town centres before attending a Westminster rally in support of the National Housing Federation’s Homes for Britain campaign.
The 47-mile leg across the East Midlands was one of five legs being completed by housing associations across the country, which will culminate in London before the rally on 17 March. Thousands of people will come together for the biggest housing rally in a generation. They will unite to call on all political parties to take bold action and create a long-term plan within the first year of a new government to end the housing crisis.
Homes for Britain’s call comes at a time when housing demand vastly outstrips supply at both a national and local level. The Home Truths report, published by the NHF, shows that over the next 20 years in the East Midlands region alone, there will be 385,000 new households, all of whom will need homes, but at current building rates, 220,000 will have nowhere to live. Meanwhile, some areas are in desperate need of regeneration and jobs, and having the right types of homes in the right places can play a vital role in sparking new life into these communities.
Orbit is committed to increasing the supply of much-needed affordable homes and has pledged to develop 12,000 new homes by 2020.
One family who have been helped through Orbit’s shared ownership scheme is Michelle Boyce and Rob Corless from Northampton. Michelle explained: “When we were privately renting it was impossible for Robert and I to save enough for the deposit to buy a house on the open market, never mind then being able to pay a huge mortgage every month as well.
“Through Orbit we’ve bought a 45 per cent share of a lovely three-bedroom house, with a small deposit, and our monthly outgoings for mortgage and rent are still less than the full rent on our old place. And this house is ours. We have something to show for our money and are really enjoying putting our own stamp on the place.”