Charity Begins With a Home

This week we’ve been concentrating on our charity efforts, not by trying to raise money in any sponsored event but by trying to give our time and effort to help homeless people by finding accommodation which they could move into without too much hassle. We’ve previously ran social housing programs where we have taken vulnerable people from hostels and housed them through our own system, using our own people to manage them and the property. It helped people get themselves back on the straight and narrow but it did little for our own personal stress levels as we became the vulnerable ones by our lack of experience of dealing with people with special needs.

Eventually we had to move on that part of the business to someone who was more capable of direct handling of people who fall into this susceptible category. We have a very different situation now though; a charity that specialises in finding employment for vulnerable homeless men has approached us to find property on their behalf. They give us particulars of what type of property in which area they need and we source property for them to lease long-term. This gives us far more scope to do what we do best whilst they look after the wellbeing of the people who need the homes.

You may think that anyone who has been homeless should be glad of any accommodation they can get, but, there for the grace of God go I. None of us know what events might conspire to leave us open to the vagaries of homelessness and we should all appreciate everything we have in life including the roof over our heads. Many people go through the most horrendous of traumas and need help to get on with their lives in a reasonable manner. Finding suitable housing for anyone is a very individual thing.

A recent report that people may have to be given up to seven attempts to begin to respect the home they are given, could possibly be overturned by an approach which gives them a vested interest in the property. Offering a long term lease to someone who is willing and able to renovate the property themselves may give them just that incentive to make good and become proud of their own home and achievements. When they are left to their own devises without continued counselling and support, is when they are most likely to lose their way again.

We like to think we can help in a practical manner by finding properties that belong to people in financial difficulty and helping them to move on whilst at the same time using those same properties to help those that need it most. As part of a bigger collaboration of charitable foundations we think we could help more than ever before.

Everyone deserves safe, clean, affordable accommodation and if we can’t provide it in this country it’s a very sad state of affairs no matter what the economy is doing. Vulnerable people need support not alienation as this make the situation worse. There are large amounts of young people not in employment or education or any kind of training that will become a bigger burden on society if we do not endeavour to do something about it now. Whilst there is a number of what might be considered social landlords who do very good work, few of them are able to provide the entire backup services this segment of the population needs.

These landlords in effect add to the problems. Many housing associations make excellent efforts in this area but with limited resources their funding is never enough to reduce the numbers and can’t even keep pace with the amount of people registering in this sector. This is a particularly difficult area for older people who have already suffered much to be in the situation, possibly through no fault of their own. By private landlords working with the charity sector and each doing the part they are best at there is a glimmer of hope of tackling the homeless problem sooner rather than later.

As with most things, a new way of thinking out of the box, potentially brings about more opportunities than the old ways. Lots of empty properties could be handed over to the neediest of our population if only there were more opportunities for charitable involvement. By working together towards a common goal much more can be created and the knock on effect can help the next generation even more than the existing one.

The numbers of private landlords continues to grow and society generally sees them as greedy people making money from those less fortunate. This of course is a complete travesty as in the main they are a private social service, a private lending institution and a private career guide to name but a few of the roles landlords take on in this people business. Being a landlord isn’t about property, it’s about the people in those properties. This is perhaps a good way to establish where your heart lays and who should be a landlord against those who should be an investor. By each of us working to our strengths we are able to do better for all.

Always try to help those that need it most by doing what you do best.

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