IKEA furniture chain staff, in the United Kingdom stores, will be trained to advise people on housing rights, in a new project to contribute to the global homelessness crisis, starting in the United Kingdom. The employees will become “life at home experts”, starting in 2023, as part of a collaboration between IKEA and the non-profit organization Shelter, focused on the elimination of homelessness.
The training will provide IKEA employees with tools and information to help people in a precarious housing situation understand their rights, hoping that they will be able to get ahead and find a permanent home, or to avoid them to lose their houses. IKEA and Shelter hope to reach half a million people affected by the housing emergency by 2030.
IKEA fights homelessness
“The partnership is launched amid a worsening housing crisis, with over one million households currently on social housing waiting lists in the UK and homelessness on the rise. There are more than 112,000 homeless households living in temporary accommodation in the UK, and this number is likely to increase further as the cost of living crisis spirals”, IKEA explained in a statement.
“IKEA will also fund Housing Rights Workers, who will be based in shelter advice centers. The initiative aims to reach people who need housing assistance in their local communities. By working more closely in neighborhoods and providing early intervention, IKEA and Shelter hope to prevent more people from losing their homes”, the Swedish chain added.
The company called on the British government to build at least 90,000 social housing units by 2030, to cope with the housing emergency in the UK. This is the first time Shelter is testing the ‘Life at Home Experts’ initiative with a partner, in this case IKEA.
“At IKEA, we want to create a better everyday life for many people. This ambition goes beyond home furnishings: we want to have a positive impact on the world”, said Peter Jelkeby, retail sales manager and head of sustainability at Ikea in the UK and Ireland.
“We are in a national housing and cost of living crisis that is affecting families and people experiencing homelessness the most. That is why it is even more important that companies like ours assume their responsibility and contribute positively to the neighborhoods of which we are part”, he added.