RICS calls on Scotland’s property industry to tackle homelessness epidemic

youth-homeless-bannerScotland’s land, property and construction sectors must collaborate more effectively to help end rising homelessness and deliver more affordable homes, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said today.

The professional body is asking those who work in the industry to pledge their support for its ‘A Home For Cathy’ campaign, which aims to deliver solutions to alleviate the country’s affordable housing crisis.

RICS, which sets professional standards in the land, property and construction sectors, launched its ‘Home for Cathy’ campaign at the end of last year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s seminal film, ‘Cathy Come Home’, which ignited a debate about homelessness at the time.

Many leading organisations have since backed the national campaign, including the Homes for Cathy Group - a national alliance of housing associations based across the UK – LandAid and Crisis, whilst Labour MP, Andrew Slaughter, UK shadow minister for housing, was part of the panel at the campaign launch.

RICS is now calling on Scotland’s wider property sector - as well as policy makers and advocates for change - to commit to helping deliver solutions to alleviate the affordable housing crisis by pledging support for its anti-homelessness campaign. In doing so, those that pledge are invited to provide feedback on how the industry can end rising homelessness and deliver more affordable homes across the country.

This feedback will help form the organisation’s manifesto of recommendations for governments across the UK on how it proposes the land, property and construction sectors can, and should, collaborate more effectively to end rising homelessness.

At worst, homelessness can mean sleeping rough on the streets, and there is a growing number of people sleeping rough across the UK.

To add to this, recent RICS market research has revealed the UK faces a 1.8m 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%, due to an ongoing chronic shortage of housing stock.

Former RICS President, Michael Newey, chief executive at Broadland Housing (part of the Homes for Cathy Group) said: “It’s hard to comprehend that, more than 50 years later – since Cathy Come Home first aired - we are once again in the grips of a housing crisis with rocketing unaffordability levels pricing even those on good incomes out of the market.

“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 market. However, recent RICS research revealed that more than 50 percent of private landlords would house homeless people if the UK government introduced some form of state-endorsed deposit guarantor scheme.

“We need industry professionals to lend their expertise and tell us about any other such innovative ideas they have, that we, as a united property industry, can tap into and deliver to put an end to rising homelessness.”


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