As business gradually slows down for the Christmas break and makes way for time spent with family, friends and loved ones, it’s a good time to reflect on our industry’s role in the community.
The number of homeless people and rough sleepers in the UK has risen every year since 2010, and as the bitter winter nights draw in, the number of resulting deaths will climb, too.
These statistics are pretty bleak, but if there is one positive to be found here, it is the way the homebuilding industry is trying its best to address the problem.
This year’s Royal Institute of British Architects President’s Medal for Research was granted to Chris Hildrey of Hildrey Studio for his work using location data to help individuals facing homelessness to find and connect with local support services.
There are many developers working on projects to house the vulnerable and the homeless, and organisations such as Commonweal Housing run competitions to help discover new ways of tackling the problem.
It’s heartening to see that this often overlooked segment of our society has inspired so much drive, passion and innovation. Developers are showing a genuine desire to help those who (at least for the moment) have so little to offer in return.
I’m proud to be part of an industry which takes its role in society seriously and I’d like to thank everyone who is working to address the growing problem of homelessness. It can seem that, as individuals, we can only make small contributions. But when added up, together we can make real difference. And when businesses join in too, then we have a very real chance of reversing the trend of increasing homelessness.
Please also consider supporting Mustard Tree, a charity tackling poverty and homelessness in Greater Manchester.