On 19th November 1966 the BBC aired 'Cathy Come Home', a groundbreaking television play by Ken Loach. Its story followed the struggles of a young family as they fall into poverty and homelessness. Amidst the public outcry that followed, a social movement grew up with the aim of tackling homelessness. Many housing associations were born in this environment - and Hightown was among them.
Hightown, Praetorian and St Albans Churches were all formed in the wake of the influential BBC drama. They were either church groups or volunteers who began buying properties to rent out to homeless people. Over the years these associations came together with others to form Hightown Housing Association as it exists today.
It has been 50 years since Cathy Come Home and the UK still has a homelessness problem.
Hightown has joined with other housing associations to form the Homes for Cathy group, a national alliance with the aim of marking the anniversary of the drama and raising awareness of the continuing needs of homeless people.
A number of events and activities are being held by the 'Homes for Cathy' group, including:
- 'Cathy', a play by the Cardboard Citizens at the Abbey Theatre
- Reception at the House of Lords with a presentation of the 'Cathy Laws'
Despite the work of housing associations over the past 50 years, the problem of homelessness has not gone away. There is simply not enough affordable housing around to meet housing needs. The number of people being made homeless is increasing nationally, with 68,560 households living in temporary accommodation at the last count.David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown