Anti-racism, the general election and beyond
Today’s political landscape is becoming increasingly hostile – and discussion about the housing emergency is no exception. We are seeing a rise in inflammatory, racist rhetoric among public figures who stoke fear and hate. Too often, the housing emergency is being used to justify these racist narratives: migrants, people seeking asylum, and British-born Black and Brown communities are being scapegoated for the lack of housing and increase in demand. As we approach the general election, we expect this rhetoric to get louder. We say: enough is enough.
Shelter has been on a journey towards becoming an anti-racist organisation since 2020. We recognise our late entry into the anti-racism space and respect the work done before us by communities of colour and grassroots organisations. At Shelter, our expertise lies in housing: we see daily through our services and research that people of colour are among the most deeply affected by the housing emergency – and we are committed to exposing and changing this.
This statement coincides with the launch of Shelter’s general election campaign and the publication of our manifesto for change.
But our commitment to calling out racism in housing and homelessness does not end with the general election:
We commit to using our voice and platform to act in solidarity and partnership with people of colour, people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants, as well as the organisations and grassroots groups that advocate for them.
We commit to actively challenging the false and noxious narrative which makes a causal link between immigration and the housing emergency.
We commit to exposing the truth: that the housing emergency in this country is unequivocally the product of successive governments’ knowing refusal to invest in social housing. It is not the fault of those who come here seeking a better life.
These commitments will flow through every aspect of Shelter’s fight for home:
In our political engagement, we have a responsibility to persuade those that do not agree with us. We will not allow racist arguments by politicians to go unchallenged, whether in private meetings or on public platforms.
In our communications, we will proactively call out the scapegoating of Black and other communities of colour. We will set the record straight when these falsehoods are espoused.
In our engagement of supporters, we will raise awareness and understanding of how systemic racism shapes the housing emergency.
In our research, we will investigate systemic racism and the housing emergency in collaboration with people from racialised communities who have lived experience of these realities.
In our policy development, we will adopt and analyse our work through an anti-racist lens.
In our cross-sector work, we will bring together a coalition of organisations in support of our campaign against racism in housing and the scapegoating of marginalised groups.
With this statement, we hold ourselves to account and commit to advocating for racial justice in the housing sector. We say: enough is enough.
Demand that every party leader commits to ending the housing emergency in their manifesto.Sign our open letter
A note on the terminology used on our webpages:
Shelter recognises that people identify differently. The range of terms we use aims to respectfully reflect the multitude of self-identifiers that people who are not white may use. While broader terms are imperfect in encapsulating specific experiences and identities, we have used them in this statement to communicate the broad experiences of racism shared across many different people and communities in the UK.