THE BLOG
06/09/2013 07:21 BST | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Join the Movement: Say Yes to More Homes and a Brighter Future

Five years ago Craig was one step away from owning his dream home. He'd scrimped and saved just enough for a 5% deposit and had found his perfect place. He'd already thought about how he was going to kit it out, but just when he was about to make his offer, he received a phone call. The bank was retracting its mortgage offer. The recession had forced it to conclude that Craig's loan was too "high-risk".

Today Craig, now 27, is still stuck in his tiny six-by-seven foot bedroom. His sisters, both grown up, are also at home, sharing a bedroom and all living cheek-by-jowl with their 60-year-old father. All three siblings work and are desperately trying to save enough to buy places of their own. It's causing the family a lot of stress and is having a negative effect on their relationships.

Of course, there are much worse situations to be in. But the position Craig and his family find themselves in is symptomatic of our dysfunctional housing market. Even in decent jobs, young adults are unable to move out and live independently. They are stopped from having a private life and maybe even a family of their own.

For many parents who thought that, once they brought up their kids and saw them through to university or into decently paid jobs, they would be able to move on with their own lives, it is becoming an emotional and sometimes financial burden. And no parent ever wants their child to become a burden.

Our ComRes-commissioned research shows that two-thirds of parents with at least one adult child aged 21-40 living at home say it's because they simply can't afford to move out. More than a third said they are doing so because the cost of living away from home is too high, while a further fifth said they are living at home while they save up for a deposit.

While a quarter of parents said having their grown-up children at home had brought their family closer together, others were not so positive. A fifth said it caused them stress and a further fifth said it had caused family arguments. Worryingly, one in ten parents said having a grown-up child living at home has caused them to fall into debt.

There is nothing wrong with parents helping their children when they are in need. If many could, they would. As a father of three I would do all I could to help mine.

But at some point they must fly the nest to grow emotionally and pursue their own lives, and to develop independently and progress in their careers. And, at some point, parents should also be allowed the freedom to move on. Either preparing for retirement, or already in retirement, they are entitled to private, fulfilling lives of their own.

How do we change this? It's simple: we need to build more of the right homes, for the right prices in the right places.

Although the Government holds the purse-strings, the decisions about housing are made locally, by local councillors. Our campaign, Yes to Homes, shows how people can get in touch with their local councillors and tell them they want more homes they can afford.

There are things you can do right now. By simply adding your postcode on the Yes to Homes website, you can get a list of local councillors and a quick and handy way to send them an email. A couple of clicks are all it takes. Maybe you can get them to read why MPs from all parties are backing our campaign.

If local councillors see that enough people in the same community want more homes that are affordable, they might sign up and, maybe, even have local television or radio housing debates that will involve the views of the entire community. There is a great need for more homes, but also the need for open and honest discussion.

There are other ways to help. You can organise a Yes to Homes cookie morning with neighbours to discuss what you want to tell your councillors. You can persuade five of your friends to sign up and send them a link to a video that explains what the problems are and how they can be tackled. You can follow the campaign's progress on Facebook and Twitter. You can tweet and retweet whenever you hear a great story. Whatever it is, you can help to make a noise.

Families like Craig's need a loudspeaker; the potential to make lots of noise that cannot be ignored. And that's what our campaign does: joins together people who feel frustrated at the lack of government action and show them how to get their voices heard - louder than ever before.

Ultimately, it's down to you. Your vote is a powerful gift and if your local councillor wants it, they will listen. Tell them what you like in return, whether it's an affordable home where you and your partner can start a family, or a home that is suited to your mother's needs when she gets older and that won't cost her entire pension.

Tell them, simply, that you want a better life for you and your loved ones. And how do you do that? By telling them to say Yes to Homes.