3 min read 7 May 21
We’ve joined hands with Habitat for Humanity Great Britain to be the flagship partner of an ‘Empty Spaces’ coalition. Our first step involves repurposing empty, vacant and derelict spaces into decent homes for those who are most vulnerable and most at risk of homelessness.
We’ll be working together to unite new partners from across the private sector, civil society, local and national governments, research and academic bodies. By showing the world how effective this idea can be, we plan to make it easier for other charities and communities to follow our lead in their own neighbourhoods, towns and cities.
As populations of towns and cities have grown, the building speeds of affordable and social housing haven’t kept up. Too many families have found themselves struggling financially and living in low standard housing – or none at all.
Habitat for Humanity Great Britain are working to change this. Their vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Through their network of global partners in over 70 countries, Habitat for Humanity develop and grow ways to reduce housing poverty and inequality.
In the UK and Europe, they focus on programmes to tackle inadequate housing – including the growing lack of social housing and increasing rate of homelessness.
We share the same concerns at M&G. Our mission is to help our customers to invest for the future, while helping to make the world a little better. We aim to break down barriers, help build futures, and support inclusive and resilient communities. And urban regeneration is a big part of that.
These cities will be the settings for our pilot project, as they have many properties that are empty, run-down and commercially unviable.
As our Empty Spaces coalition works to revitalise these properties into safe, comfortable homes, M&G will be involved with more than just funding. We have the experts in real estate management, project management and research to make a big difference from boardroom to building site. So we’ll be helping out with funding, expertise and also doing some hands-on labour.
Our work in London, Warsaw and Glasgow will become living case studies to help inform two phases of research. The first phase of our research will determine how much and where social housing could be developed through the transformation of empty spaces.
For the second phase, we’ll develop a toolkit for other organisations to replicate our work, and tailor it to different locations. Through our advocacy and a programme of digital and in person roadshows, we hope to reach more than 250,000 people over three years. That includes people we help directly, as well as people who gain awareness of the project model and toolkit through our advocacy.
In the long term, we want to bring organisations and communities together to create positive, systemic change. This is how all of us, working together, can help to solve the housing crisis.