Housing, energy and affordability: how can we act in times of crisis?

Monday 7 December 10:00 until 12:30

Home is supposed to be a place of rest, security and restoration. However, for many people in the UK today this is far from the case. As we have been forced to spend more time at home, COVID-19 is exposing the inequalities and sub-standard housing conditions many citizens are facing.

Students and young people are being forced to self-isolate in low quality rented accommodation, often with limited knowledge of their rights or with any institutional support. Unlike their parents’ generation, young adults and families are often unable to purchase their own homes, with the average UK house price 227% higher than in 1990 relative to average income.

Both young and old are often unable to keep their homes warm at an affordable cost, due a highly inefficient and outdated housing stock. This has a significant impact on the climate crisis, with the UK's housing contributing 22% of our national greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of homes will need low energy refurbishment in the coming decades.

Brighton is an acute example of these intersecting crises. Our city not only has some of the highest house prices and rents in the UK, but also a relatively old and inefficient housing stock. With a large student population, it is young people that especially bear the brunt of these issues.

So what can be done?

In this event we aim to map out pathways to change. Through a series of examples of grassroots housing and energy initiatives, we will show how bottom up community action is making a real difference in the city right now. However, grassroots action alone is unlikely to be sufficient to tackle the scale of the challenge. Through an expert panel, we will discuss how institutions such as universities, local councils and national government should act to overcome the multiple crises we face.

Speakers to Include:

Caroline Lucas - MP for Brighton Pavillion

Grace Blakeley - Economist and Author - Tribune Magazine

Sihem Ziada - President of Brighton Student Union (SU)

Kayla Ente - CEO - Brighton and Hove Energy Service Coop

Siriol Hugh-Jones - Brighton and Hove City Council

Brighton/Sussex SU - Renters Union & Green Renters Campaign

Dr Marie-Claire Brisbois - Sussex Energy Group (SEG)

Dr Donal Brown - Sussex Energy Group (SEG)

Others TBC

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By: Francisco Dominguez
Last updated: Friday, 6 November 2020

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