HOUSE OF THE COMMONS PRESS RELEASE
Copy date: 12th September 2016
Event Date: 21st – 23rd October 2016
When: 21st – 23rd October 2016
Where: Cowley Road Methodist Church (21st & 22nd October), East Oxford Community Centre (23rd October)
“House of the Commons” – a platform to explore creative solutions to the housing crisis launches its second event in Oxford this October.
The UK is currently facing an acute housing crisis:
- Rental prices are at an all-time high relative to incomes
- Home ownership in England is at its lowest level in 30 years
- Council and affordable house building last year was at its lowest level on record, dropping by over 50%, whilst
- The rate of Council house sell-offs has tripled in four years and continues to rise
- Homelessness has risen 33% between 2010-20155, and
- Over a year after Britain pledged to house 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, we’ve resettled just 1,800
House of the Commons, a three-day event held in East Oxford kicks-off in just six weeks (21st – 23rd October) aiming to explore the root causes of the UK housing crisis and what we can do collectively to tackle the situation.
The event is organised by architecture and design Co-operative, Transition by Design (TbD) in collaboration with citizens, activists and housing professionals. With Oxford being crowned one of “the least affordable cities in the UK”, the event will focus on Oxford but also offer a UK outlook on the crisis.
The packed and varied programme includes presentations and discussions by a range of engaging speakers – academics, including Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at LSE, and Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at Oxford University; architects and designers, including Alastair Parvin, co- founder of WikiHouse and Architects for Social Housing; alongside campaigners and organisers, including Aysen Dennis, of Aylesbury Tenants & Leaseholders and the Radical Housing Network; as well as esteemed filmmaker and radical economist, Ross Ashcroft.
There will also be practical workshop sessions by grassroots activists and skilled specialists on subjects ranging from DIY off-grid solar systems to natural building techniques.
The event will create a space for learning, discussion and organising for action, punctuated with music, art and delicious hot meals made from surplus food.
This will be the 2nd House of the Commons event, following its first occurrence in 2014 which highlighted a great demand for spaces where diverse groups can come together to share skills and ideas and take action together to tackle the housing crisis.
House of the Commons will cover six core themes, including:
- ‘Drivers and Root Causes of the Housing Crisis’;
- ‘Land: Access, Ownership and Affordability’;
- ‘Renters Rights’;
- ‘Alternative Housing Models’;
- ‘Building for the Future’; and
- ‘Housing for Migrants and Refugee’
‘Housing for Migrants and Refugees’ is a theme new to this year’s event, responding to the growing migrant crisis. Rising concerns for how we can accommodate refugees is a topic that needs to be addressed openly and creatively.
With the recent launch of Age UK’s innovative Oxford Homeshare Scheme8 and news of the first new Housing Co-op to be set up in Oxford for 20 years this month by Kindling Housing Co-operative9, House of the Commons will also bring together groups who have started fresh initiatives and alternative housing models as a response to the housing crisis. Groups such as Oxford City of Sanctuary, Radical Routes, Students for Co-operation and Homes for Oxford will share their creative ideas and practical projects.
House of the Commons is intended to be participatory with a focus on self- organisation for practical action and is open to all people wanting to find out more about our current housing situation and where we could go next. To ensure the success of the event, House of the Commons is calling out for enthusiastic volunteers to be involved in and to help out with the various sessions. Volunteers will get free entries to all sessions, and will get a delicious lunch each day. For more information, and to register as a volunteer, head to the event website.
Tickets are on sale now and available from, houseofthecommons.org/tickets
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