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Jessie Powell

Judging panel announced for Housing Helps new ideas competition

The judges for our Housing Helps new ideas competition have been announced.

The seven-strong panel features a range of experts and specialists from across housing, homelessness and research, including:

The panel will be responsible for picking the winner of the £10k fund which will support a research or feasibility study into an area of social injustice where housing could be part of the solution.

Previous winners of the Commonweal new ideas competition were Thames Reach, who submitted a bid for funding for research into a group of migrant workers living in the north London suburbs.

Catherine Parsons, Head of Operations at Thames Reach said: “Winning Commonweal’s competition enabled us to better understand the needs of a very misunderstood group and it would have been difficult for us to secure funding elsewhere for this research.

“Aside from the money, Commonweal provided us with ongoing support and challenge through the research and helped us disseminate the findings, all of which has been invaluable in enabling us to develop some possible solutions to this particular social need.”

Following the research, Thames Reach worked with Commonweal and other partners develop a new form of transitional, short term accommodation for this specific group. As a result, wooden pods were designed by architects Reed Watts, to give shelters the option of offering greater privacy and security to this group of individuals.

The Pods are now being tested by service users at homeless shelter the 999 Club in Deptford, East London and were recently featured in the Guardian.

Steve Douglas, who will be Chair of the panel said “This competition is an open invite for people to come forward with ideas of where there are examples of perceived social injustices that could be alleviated through suitable housing.

“The idea by no means have to be developed and may be into something that has previously gone unnoticed or been overlooked. Commonweal’s current projects are extremely diverse so we’re conscious not to rule anything out and excited to see what emerges.”

The deadline for the Housing Helps new ideas competition is Thursday 31st January, to find out more and enter visit commonweal.org.uk/HousingHelps

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