I spoke to my mum on Sunday – it was Mother’s Day after all. She asked me what my week was like.
Naturally I told her about the Homes for Britain rally and how the housing sector was coming together for the biggest event of its kind to make sure politicians really see housing as a key election issue.
She said: “You don’t need to bother. All of the politicians are talking about housing at the moment anyway.”
Firstly, I should say she was entirely wrong about there not being a need to come together as a sector with a strong, clear message to government.
However, she was right that politicians are talking about housing. This is not an accident.
Politicians, media commentators and the general public are talking about housing, in no small part, because the sector has made it an issue that cannot be avoided.
The political parties are all beginning to set out their stalls for the election and housing features prominently in many of their plans.
“Our members have truly found their campaigning voice. And their message is clear: whoever you are, wherever you live, housing matters”
But now is not the time to take the pressure off politicians; it’s time to increase it to make sure the next government comes into office committed to producing a long-term plan for housing within its first year.
This plan must get away from short-term political cycles, be truly ambitious and look at the long-term housing needs in communities up and down the country.
And what a need there is. We all know that there is a huge shortage of homes.
England housebuilding figures hovered below the 125,000 mark for the sixth year in a row in 2014 – the lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s.
For decades only half the 245,000 homes needed have been built. This is storing up problems for future generations.
In other communities we see a real need for a focused long-term approach to regeneration, which locates housing investment alongside transport, skills and economic improvement as a critical part of the infrastructure needed to ensure people living there have a sustainable future.
The Homes for Britain campaign has been exhilarating and has given the housing sector a renewed sense of unity and purpose.
Our members have truly found their campaigning voice.
And their message is clear: whoever you are, wherever you live, housing matters.
That is the message we are taking to Westminster – when 2,500 people will come together to make it clear that a credible long-term plan for housing is something we demand from our political representatives.
Rob Warm is head of member relations at the National Housing Federation