LandAid is changing: help us end youth homelessness

Paul Morrish | 27.11.15

LandAid is changing. Chief Executive Paul Morrish outlines our new ambition to end youth homelessness in the UK, which was announced at the LandAid Ambassadors Awards in London last night.

This year roughly 83,000 of our young people will experience homelessness. Nearly 4,000 of them will sleep rough for at least one night. And this is in the 5th wealthiest country in the world. In 2015.

Last night, Liz Peace, LandAid’s Chairman and I described what we’re going to do to respond to this crisis. Working closely with our property industry supporters and with expert charities LandAid is going to help end youth homelessness.

LandAid already makes a real difference. We’ve funded some great projects over our 29 year history, and last year alone LandAid grants totalling £1.2m helped nearly 8,000 vulnerable children and young people right across the UK.

But LandAid and the property industry’s potential to make a real and lasting difference within society is far greater. It is immense. And it is this potential that our new ambition will harness.

Of course the property industry is no stranger to making a difference, nor to immense challenges. Our partners produce millions of square feet of office and retail space, record-breaking towers, eye-watering transport hubs, and mind-bending infrastructure. The industry has changed, is changing and will continue to change the face of this country and its economy.

But this is not enough.

We all recognise the growing gulf between rich and poor, between those with opportunity and those without, those able to make a good life for themselves and their families and those that can’t. As austerity bites and the state contracts, so, increasingly, people will look to the corporate world to step up, and step in.

Historically generous, the property industry is well placed to help. Property companies invest significant sums in charities close to their hearts every year. The calendar is filled with fundraising events and galas, and companies are investing more in adding social value wherever they work.

The challenge though is impact. Funding countless projects all of whom do good can dissipate the impact of corporate giving – it’s the sprinkler hose rather than the jet-wash approach.

I’m not arguing for property companies and their staff to give less. If anything I want to see more charities benefitting more. But what I really want is to help the property industry find its own charitable jet-wash setting. I want to harness some of the industry’s generosity and good will and focus it on achieving lasting and extraordinary change.

Confronted with the sight of anyone living on the streets - especially if they’re a young person – we can be daunted by the scale of the challenge, by the reality of so many shattered lives. “What can I do? How can I help?”

Youth homelessness charities aren’t daunted, and they know what to do. Which is why, from next year, all our grant making efforts will go to supporting small to medium sized charities around the UK working to end youth homelessness. They have the skills and expertise and can build the trust needed to work with the thousands of young people who turn to them for help.

And together, united behind LandAid, we can help them. With money, free professional property advice, and the support that LandAid offers so well, we can make a massive difference.

We will not succeed alone - we need to work closely with charities and other funders, as well as with government. Nor will we succeed overnight – which is why we are committing to this cause for at least the next 10 years.

Today we ask you to join us in creating a new and unique charitable collaboration, the property industry uniting through LandAid to end youth homelessness. Join the movement by signing up to receive our monthly updates

This article was jointly published by Estates Gazette, Property Week and CoStar on 27 November 2015, as the three leading property titles united to support LandAid.