We believe that everyone has the right to safe and adequate living conditions and that the government has a duty to facilitate the nomadic way of life.
A chronic national shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites in England means that over 3000 families have no lawful place to stop. An unfavourable planning system and the abject failure of local and national government to ensure sufficient sites are built means that around 10,000 people live on land without permission.
This makes it difficult for families to access water and sanitation, education and healthcare, which has a significant impact on the health and educational outcomes of Gypsies and Travellers. To evict families from pillar to post, when there is an absence of places where Gypsies and Travellers are allowed to stop or to live, is a punitive approach which just creates more encampments and more misery for all.
Every year, our casework and outreach teams help over 1300 families with issues from homelessness to hate crime, education to health, and more. We provide support for people who are facing evictions, at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness and in need of a safe place to live. Our dedicated team of national caseworkers and outreach support workers:
- Provide advice and advocacy to people living on unauthorised encampments or developments facing eviction;
- Support people to access legal representation; and
- Help people to apply for or maintain residency on a Traveller site or in bricks and mortar accommodation.
We work at a local and national level to:
- Create a fairer planning system;
- Challenge the criminalisation of nomadism;
- Promote good practice and a blend of solutions to address accommodation needs (for example the need for permanent and transit sites and negotiated stopping arrangements).
Our key tools and forums we use to bring about change in this area include:
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stakeholder group for Gypsies and Travellers, of which we are a member;
- The APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, to which we act as Secretariat;
- Our Campaigns work;
- Our work with partnership organisations and fora, including Equally Ours and the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations;
- Our engagement with International Human Rights treaty making bodies, such as the United Nations.
We carry out research to:
- investigate and expose unfair treatment against Gypsies and Travellers in the planning system; and
- amplify the voices of Gypsy and Traveller communities in the planning system.
Friends, Families and Travellers policy briefing on key issues faced by Gypsy and Traveller communities in accommodation and planning - view here.
To view our full range of reports and publications on accommodation and planning, visit our Policy and Publications section.