Citizenship for Life and Habitat for Humanity
The visit after Emmaus, the Citizenship for Life group visited a run down complex of flats in Southwark, London. They were in a very poor state of repair, even though they were owned by the local authority. Habitat for Humanitydecided to act (with the consent of the LA) and do something about this. After all cheap local needs housing is in dire need in London, just as it is in Cornwall.
The cost of renovating and putting a building back into use is expensive. Sometimes too expensive for a local authority to do single-handedly: My view is there is no excuse for a local authority to allow a building to fall into this state. The way Habitat for Humanity works is using volunteers from CEO’s of international banks, to a person with a little time on their hands carrying out jobs to help bring a building into use by doing a lot of the work, but also using qualified tradesmen for those jobs that cannot be undertaken by volunteers.
This is a great concept, as it keeps the cost of renovating down, and therefore the cost of selling down, or keeping the rent low via a registered social landlord. No one is forced to work, so the organisation has no problem with motivating someone who might have been sent there as some sort of community payback.
Like the previous visit to Emmaus the students got a lot out of the visit, and saw when people are willing to give a few hours of their time, something great can be accomplished. With so many empty and derelict houses in Cornwall, maybe something like the program Habitat for Humanity would bring a few more houses back into use?