The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is calling on the whole property sector to weigh in on the homeless problem, asking for suggestions on what “solutions” might help end rising homelessness and encourage the industry to collaborate better to deliver them.
It’s part of the RICS’ “A Home for Cathy” campaign, which already has significant backing from a national alliance of housing associations based across the UK, LandAid and Crisis, whilst Labour MP, Andrew Slaughter, Shadow Minister for Housing was part of the panel at the campaign launch.
Those who work in the land, property and construction sectors are being asked to pledge their support for the campaign, and have a potentially influential say on what can practically be done.
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, RICS’ own recent market research revealed the UK faces a 1.8 million shortfall of rental properties by 2025, and over the next five years rents are predicted to rise by 25% followed by house prices at around 18%.
Industry feedback will help the Institute form its manifesto of recommendations for Governments across the UK on how the property industry can, and should, work together to end rising homelessness and deliver more affordable homes.
Former RICS President, Michael Newey, Chief Executive at Broadland Housing (part of the Homes for Cathy Group): “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 percent 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.”