Not having a place to call home is one of the most stressful situations a person can find themselves in, and as ‘stress’ is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is urging property firms in the North West to get behind its campaign to deliver more homes for young homeless people.
The Duke of Cambridge attended the launch of the campaign – known as Pledge150 and in partnership with property industry charity, LandAid* – which aims to unite those working in the region’s property sectors in raising funds to deliver at least 150 bed spaces for young homeless people by December 2018.
Pledge150 and Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) are all the more poignant following a recent ‘Young & Homeless’ research report by Homeless Link* which revealed that over a third of young people aged 16-24 suffer from poor mental health (35%), and 44% are not in education, employment or training, which combined with being homeless must make stress in their lives even harder to bare.
The Homelessness Reduction Act came into play last month which means all young people who are homeless are entitled to support from their council, regardless of whether they are considered ‘priority need’. However, of the 188 local authorities and providers that took part in the Homeless Link research, a lack of affordable housing, and supported accommodation options along with welfare benefit reform were highlighted as barriers to helping house young homeless people in the North West.
Vickki Hampson, RICS Regional Director commented: “The Homeless Reduction Act is a crucial step in the right direction, but on its own, it isn’t enough. This is why our Pledge150 campaign is so important as it will see us working together with property professionals and companies along with charities through LandAid to help young vulnerable people get back on their feet by gaining a safe and secure place to call home.”
Paul Morrish, CEO at LandAid added: “Our everyday stresses are nothing in comparison to what a person who is homeless has to deal with, which can include theft of their belongings, sexual exploitation, or physical assault and abuse to name but a few. Suffering any such harm or injustice can be overwhelmingly stressful when also having to deal with trying to find a safe place to call home.
“Nobody today should be homeless, and we hope through the Pledge150 campaign we can encourage the wider property industry to make a real positive difference by raising funds to deliver more homes for young homeless people, and give them the fresh start they need to then gain employment or training and improve their overall well-being.”
Since the launch of the RICS Pledge150 campaign earlier this year – which coincides with RICS’s 150th anniversary in 2018 – professionals working in the region’s land, property and construction sectors have raised funds through a variety of fundraising events including sporting tournaments, tours of historic buildings as well as corporate dinners and networking events.
For more information on the RICS Pledge150 campaign – including the tools available to get you started fundraising – from brochures and posters along with suggestions of fundraising activities – visit www.rics.org/pledge150