At Larkfleet, we are always encouraged by new initiatives that aim to solve the current housing issue in the country so the latest campaign by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has caught our eye.
RICS recently launched an anti-homelessness campaign – known as ‘A Home for Cathy’ – to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach's seminal film ‘Cathy Come Home’ (an influential film which ignited a debate about homelessness at the time).
Many leading organisations have since backed the campaign including the Homes for Cathy Group – a national alliance of housing associations based across the UK – LandAid and Crisis.
RICS is now calling on firms in the wider property sector, as well as policy makers and advocates for change, to pledge support for its anti-homelessness campaign.
In doing so, those that pledge can have their say on what solutions will help the industry end rising homelessness and deliver more affordable homes.
These ‘solutions’ will help form a manifesto of recommendations for governments across the UK on how the land, property and construction sectors should collaborate better to end rising homelessness.
At worst, homelessness can mean sleeping rough on the streets and there is a growing number of rough sleepers across the UK – including Wales, Scotland and Northern – but particularly in England. In 2016 government statistics showed that 4,134 people slept rough on any one night across England – this is over double the number counted in 2010.
To add to this, recent market research by RICS revealed the UK faces a 1.8 million shortfall of rental properties by 2025. Over the next five years rents are predicted to rise by 25 per cent followed by house prices at around 18 per cent.
Former RICS President, Michael Newey, Chief Executive at Broadland Housing (part of the Homes for Cathy Group) said: “Rising prices along with recent caps to housing benefits, including the abolition of housing benefit for those under 21, are key reasons why those on lower incomes are being pushed out of the rental market.
“However, recent RICS research revealed that over 50 per cent of private landlords would house homeless people if the government introduced some form of state-endorsed deposit guarantor scheme. We need industry professionals to lend their expertise and inform us of any other such innovative ideas that we, as a united property industry, can tap into and deliver to put an end to rising homelessness.”
Keep up-to-date with the latest Home for Cathy news - including the Matrics UK Board's 'Rough Sleep-Out' charity challenge - by joining the conversation on Twitter @RICSnews using the hashtag #AHomeforCathy.