The power of hope and housing
On Thursday 8th May 2017, a wonderful thing happened. Lots and lots of young people voted. And they changed the election.
For years young people, and indeed many ‘ordinary’ people, have given up on voting. “It won’t make any difference”, “politicians are not interested in people like us”, “nothing ever changes”.
Well on Thursday you showed that you CAN make a difference. For example – Canterbury. Tory for over 100 years Canterbury has now returned a Labour MP. Largely because of students and young people.
On Friday we woke up to a new political reality.
So now you know. You CAN change things. Nothing is set in stone.
So why stop there?
Don’t you know that fortune favours the brave? Whereas ‘Nothing will ever go right for me’ if you believe it, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is a housing blog. We are in the middle of a housing crisis. Young people often have nowhere to live. So why not do something about it?
Young people should not sit back and wait for the ‘grownups’ to reluctantly give housing handouts. Young people should take the initiative and do things for themselves. YOU should take the initiative.
Sure, you don’t have much money. So what? You have intelligence, drive, enthusiasm. Use it.
- Start cooperatives
- Use your local credit unions (or start one)
- Approach businesses, local authorities, your MP for help
Here are some ‘bonkers’ housing suggestions
Get Local Authorities to allow you to build on some of their land. See if local architects can design housing which you can build yourselves – there are methods of building housing from standard parts (see this video). Maybe trainee architects could work with your project as part of their training? You may be able to get funding to cover all or part of the cost.
Or why not film the project? Suppliers may be prepared to provide some materials free or at cost in exchange for you promoting their products on YouTube.
Contact Local Authorities about empty derelict properties. They can be acquired under compulsory purchase powers. You may be able to work with Local Authorities to put them back into use – as housing for young people and families.
Set up help groups to collaborate and support housing initiatives in different parts of the country and share experiences. Raise money through crowdfunding. Use the internet, it is your friend.
But these are just my ideas. Yours will be better.
Get help from the older generation
I don’t believe in the generation gap. Why should older people want to hurt young people? Maybe some, but for most ordinary older people – it is quite the opposite! We WANT you to do well. You are our future.
- Get retired people to teach you their skills. Many will be delighted to pass on their knowledge. Builders, carpenters, electricians. Get them involved in your community self-build project.
- Having problems with the planning system? Approach retired planners and see if they can help.
- Need money? See if professional fundraisers will be able to donate any time to help and advise you on raising money for your project.
- Legal problems? Have a word with local Solicitors. Most lawyers do ‘pro bono’ work and many will be happy to donate some time to community projects.
You get the picture.
Don’t be afraid to ask people. All they can do is say no. But not everyone will say no. Some will say yes. You just have to keep trying.
Be sensible who you ask though. Busy business people struggling to earn a living obviously cannot give much time or money. Try retired people who have plenty of time to spare and who might enjoy the challenge. Or big businesses with large budgets and a social conscience who would benefit from being associated with community projects.
Today is the first day of your new housing project
You never know what you can do until you try and it is never too soon, or too late, to start. You will have to work hard, of course, and none of these things will be easy. But that can be fun.
And when you succeed – you will feel as if you have spun the wheel of fate yourself and created your own future. Nothing is more satisfying.
Then do what you can to inspire others. Pass it on.
Get started now!