The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) – in collaboration with the Homes for Cathy Group – has launched an anti-homelessness campaign, known as ‘A Home for Cathy.’ It aims to encourage the North East’s property industry to collaborate better to deliver more affordable homes, whilst commemorating the 50th anniversary of the highly acclaimed BBC drama, Cathy Come Home.
RICS set standards in the land, property and construction sectors, whilst the Homes for Cathy Group is a national alliance of housing associations – based across the UK – helping to raise awareness of the needs of homeless people.
A roundtable debate was held at RICS’ Newcastle office (Citygate House Bath Lane) to mark the launch of the campaign, during which, senior representatives from the private, public and third sector gathered to discuss modern day homelessness, and how the land, property and construction sectors can work together better to deliver solutions to create more affordable homes.
Former RICS President, Michael Newey, Chief Executive at Broadland Housing (part of the Homes for Cathy Group) said: “Cathy Come Home ignited a public and political debate about homelessness back in 1966, after portraying a young family’s descent into poverty and homelessness. It subsequently led to the formation of housing associations and marked a turning point in public perception of people who are homeless.
“50 years on and we are once again in the grips of another housing crisis; it is with this is mind that our campaign will see us encouraging property professionals to see themselves as part of the solution to ending rising homelessness and delivering more affordable homes. For example, to seek out sites that might be suitable to deliver homes on; to help housing associations achieve planning on new homes; and to unlock sites with planning consent that aren’t coming forward for construction.”
He adds: “In simple terms, we want our industry’s professionals to see beyond maximizing profit in bringing forward housing solutions. There are already innovative and insightful ideas and solutions out there that we can tap into; we just need to collaborate better to deliver them.”
Other campaign launch events took place in Belfast, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh and London this month. Feedback and insight from each of these debates will help RICS form a manifesto of recommendations and solutions that the property and construction sectors can offer in order to tackle the homelessness crisis.
Geoff White, RICS Policy Manager, North & Midlands commented: “Given our position within the industry and our public interest remit, we are uniquely placed to work with local organisations across the land, property and construction sectors, to champion existing initiatives that work, and help formulate new solutions where needed.
“Our influence within the property sector and government will stand us in good stead for raising awareness of our recommendations to end rising homelessness and call for a united and collaborative effort, via our manifesto, to commit to end rising homelessness.”