This November marks the fiftieth 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.

The play led to a public outcry about the problem of homelessness. Up and down the country people came together - often in partnership with their local churches - to form housing associations in their town or city to provide homes for homeless people. 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.

About the Project

Helping to provide homes for homeless peopleA group of housing associations 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 group would welcome the involvement of other housing associations who would like to highlight the problem of homelessness and raise awareness of the need for more affordable homes across the UK.  They should contact David Bogle of Hightown Housing Association at

Real Cathy Stories: Meet Martin ...

Martin found himself with nowhere to live after a series of personal hardships spiralled him into homelessness and unemployment.

‘Homes for Cathy’ Partners

Arches Housing
Brighter Futures
Broadland Housing Group
Connect Housing
Hastoe Group
Hightown Housing Association
Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association
MSV Housing
North Star
Peabody Group
Shepherds Bush Housing Group
South Yorkshire Housing Association
Tyne Housing Association