Homelessness is a growing problem and it’s our responsibility to help

The UK has a growing homeless problem and it’s a tragedy. It has been suggested that empty buildings and shops could be converted into homes for those who need them, and I think we need to start right away.

Working in property for almost a decade I’ve seen so often what an important role buildings play in everybody’s lives: whether it’s a secure home, a productive workplace or a football stadium, swimming pool or museum that helps us enjoy our time and bond with others.

Without a home to call their own, it’s far too difficult for an individual to succeed in any other aspect of their life. A home enables you to put down roots. It also helps you to become part of a local community - another crucial part of everyday life. A secure home is the first step to greater things.

I don’t understand how this country can have a growing number of people without a place to call home, at the same time as a growing number of empty properties. We should be opening our doors to people who need our help.

And it’s not just a problem for property owners to solve. I think we could all do more to help those in need.

Mental illness is one of the leading causes of both drug abuse and homelessness, and this has culminated in suicide becoming the leading cause of death among middle-aged men. 

There is not enough support and compassion for those who need it most. Not enough second chances available for those who desperately want one.

We need to start turning these empty and unused buildings into something which will benefit our society as a whole. And we all need to spend a little longer helping those around us.

Take a moment to think about the people in your own life. Could you make a life-changing difference with a simple gesture of kindness to somebody who is struggling?