The Big Issue is launching a fresh campaign against homelessness to mark the magazine’s 30th anniversary.
Its Stop Mass Homelessness Campaign comes amid warnings of an increase in the number of people being made homeless unless action is taken.
The Big Issue, which has helped more than 105,000 vendors earn more than £144 million since its launch with its drive to tackle poverty by giving its magazine sellers sellers a “hand up, not a hand out”.
In a special edition this week, readers will be urged to join the new campaign, and read interviews with former vendors.
The Big Issue said that despite Government support, a household was made homeless every three-and-a-half hours in the UK during the first three months of 2021.
Evictions and repossessions will be returning to pre-pandemic levels when the Government’s furlough scheme ends next week, it warned.
The Big Issue urged the Government to take action such as paying off rent arrears and helping those unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to Covid-19 poverty, suspending no fault evictions and providing jobs and training in sustainable industries.
Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last three decades – it is amazing to see how many people we have helped during this time.
“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of making us what we are, from our staff and vendors to our customers and supporters – we couldn’t have done this without you.
“To me, one of the biggest challenges we face now is working to prevent mass homelessness occurring in the coming period.
“That’s why The Big Issue is so relevant today, to ensure we campaign to stop people slipping into homelessness because of Covid poverty and facing a vast increase of mental illness and other deep health problems.”
“The Big Issue changes my life”
The special edition magazine includes an interview with Big Issue vendor Monica, who said: “The Big Issue changes my life every day. It helps me to get up in the morning, to go and work and helps me look after my children.”
Benedict Cumberbatch, Bryan Adams, Sadiq Khan, Aisling Bea, Gordon Brown, Sophie Winkleman and Vicky McClure are among supporters interviewed in this week’s edition.
There is also an interview with Big Issue ambassador Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, who sold the magazine as a teenager before turning her life around to become a celebrated author and one of the most senior female fire service officers in Britain.