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Ashley Horsey

Ashley is Chief Executive of Commonweal Housing.

Call for New Ideas: we need new and innovative solutions more than ever in the New Normal

Please note that we have now lifted our deadline for submissions, which was previously the 1st of May 2020.  

We will be considering applications as they come in and making a decision on a case-by-case basis. Please note we have a fixed budget to support a limited number of research and feasibility studies in 2020. 

Click here for more information and to apply >>

“The new normal” seems to be the phrase of the year so far – for a range of obvious reasons. Working from home, social distancing, a changed perspective on the real ‘key workers’ in our society; an altered understanding of the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised and what “we are all in this together” really means beyond a trite political soundbite.

There is growing recognition that Covid-19 is not swayed by social status, power or money and Princes, Prime Ministers and paupers are all just as physically susceptible to its invidious effects.

As we all adapt to the current situation, Commonweal is still here to help organisations develop housing solutions to social injustice, through our call for new partners with innovative ideas. Applicants will work with us to create projects which will launch as pilots in the new normal of the future – so that when all this is over we can start creating the society we need.

As we’ve seen in recent weeks, there has been a slow but steady realisation that many already at the margins of society are suffering the implications of the virus more. Those in overcrowded homes, those sharing facilities, those in prisons, those trapped in violent or abusive relationships, those already on the streets.

It seems there has never been a more important time to be thinking innovatively about the housing needs of the most marginalised.

As each new group is highlighted, it seems to me that there is less and less push back or rejection as ‘special pleading’ calls for their support – instead I believe the newly discovered society is understanding the need to support the vulnerable and the needy.

Whether this is a new 21st Century altruism we are unlikely to know for sure until after this immediate crisis has ended and whether or not we return to “the old normal”.

My rose tinted glasses view is that maybe society has had a moment of self-realisation and increasingly understands that it is to the benefit of all that issues of injustice, disparities and marginalisation are addressed. As many are asking – given that we have to a greater or lesser extent ‘solved’ rough sleeping in this crisis, why can we not maintain it when the crisis is over?

At Commonweal we too are looking at the post-crisis world and are inviting new feasibility study idea submissions that we may be able to support. Our Call for New Ideas is looking at finding new housing based solutions to different and seemingly intractable manifestations of social injustice.

We have set aside funding to enable us to support some new feasibility studies that have the potential to lead to longer term property based pilot projects over the coming years. We are particularly interested in ideas looking at injustices (and solutions) across our priority themes – the criminal justice system and issues related to violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The deadline for submissions is 1st May – and we hope those that are able will submit proposals by that time. However, we recognise that many organisations are stretched with other priorities at present, dealing with the current crisis and its impacts upon key client groups.

We would encourage anyone who is concerned about submitting an application in time to get in touch with us, and we will keep this call for new ideas generally open for the foreseeable future to ensure interested parties have the opportunity to engage with us as and when they have the ability to lift their heads and start to meaningfully think about the future.

Commonweal will be here and will be happy to have conversations whenever needed if you can help us find housing solutions to social injustice.

Apply to our Call For New Ideas >>>

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