This November marks the 50th anniversary of the first showing of Cathy Come Home on BBC television. Written by Jeremy Sandford and directed by Ken Loach, the drama documentary highlighted the desperate plight of a homeless family in London in the 1960s and had a powerful effect on television viewers. Years later in 1998, it was voted the best single television drama in a Radio Times poll.
A group of housing associations, including BCHA, that were formed in the Cathy Come Home era have come together to mark the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home and to highlight the continuing needs of homeless people. The Homes for Cathy group will be organising a range of local and national events and initiatives in the months leading up to and around the anniversary. They will be liaising with the National Housing Federation, Shelter, Crisis and other groups campaigning for homeless people and hope to work with the media, members of the House of Lords and the Cardboard Citizens Theatre workshop, amongst others.
The 1966 play, directed by Ken Loach, which highlighted the plight of a homeless family, led to a public outcry about the problem of homelessness. Up and down the country people came together to form housing associations in their communities, often in partnership with their local churches, to provide homes for homeless people, including BCHA in 1968. Although the housing associations were originally run by volunteers on a small scale, many of them soon began to employ staff and grew over the years or merged with other housing associations to become large providers of badly-needed affordable homes.
Despite housing associations and others building hundreds of thousands of homes over the last fifty years, the problem of homelessness has not gone away. Today more and more families are being accepted as homeless by local authorities up and down the country and last Christmas over 100,000 children were in temporary accommodation. There is simply not enough affordable housing around to meet their housing needs.
BCHA Press Coverage
For more information visit the Homes For Cathy website.