Residents across Devon will speak out on Thursday in a virtual event to address the ongoing housing crisis in the area.
The Facebook Live event was organized by campaign group North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis and will start at 7pm on January 20.
The event currently has 11 speakers, including concerned residents, activists and representatives of the housing charity, Shelter.
Landlords, estate agents and representatives of North Devon Council have also been invited to speak.
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Emma Hookway, founder of North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis, said the event would provide a safe space for residents to discuss the crisis and break the stigma surrounding evictions.
Emma said: “More than anything, the event is about balancing voices and starting a discussion. This event won’t be a debate – it’s an opportunity to listen to what people have to say.
“We don’t need to have the same ideologies or ideas, but we can question each other in the right way and use the space in a positive way.
It is property – not coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic now as the terrible pandemic rumbles towards its conclusion.
As city dwellers head to the glorious South West to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clear winners and clear losers.
Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a staycation boom and prioritizing AirBnb guests over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?
These are questions we’ll be asking in the campaign’s thought-provoking content. Price excluding Devon.
But all will never be catastrophic.
We’ve rounded up homes under £150,000 across the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there’ll be more positive content like this to come.
We highlight the highs and lows of Devon’s property boom. Find our content here and subscribe to our real estate newsletter here.
“It is important to break the stigma that the housing crisis only affects people who have been poor tenants.
“People are more and more aware of the crisis now due to the various campaigns going on across the country to highlight it, but there are many people who still believe that this crisis does not affect them.
“We want to encourage people to speak up and not be afraid to do so, because that’s the only way to achieve lasting change.”
Since its launch in July 2021, North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis have organized several demonstrations and events to raise awareness of the crisis, bringing together over 2,000 people.
In November 2021, campaigners met with former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron to discuss the crisis and present their manifesto to central government, leading to a debate in parliament last week.
Following the debate, North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis wrote letters to North Devon District Council and MP Selaine Saxby to discuss ways of working together to find solutions to the crisis.
A demonstration in Ilfracombe is also planned and should take place during the Easter period.
Emma said it was more important than ever for residents to raise their voices and demand action from local and central government.
She said: “It’s really, really important to keep raising awareness over the winter months because otherwise people going through this will feel really alone.
“This crisis is having a terrible effect on people’s mental health during these times, and as we all know winter is usually a tougher time for most people with the financial implications of Christmas.
“We will not succeed if we sit back and hope that our MPs will do something. We must continue to pressure central government to bring about change and protect our community.”
For more information, visit the event page.
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