Five Questions For...
Alice Lamb, Deputy CEO of LandAid
This quarter we check in with Alice Lamb, Deputy CEO of LandAid
- the property industry charity working to end youth homelessness in the UK. We have a longstanding relationship with LandAid, including sponsorship of the fantastic LandAid 10K. 1. What is LandAid's current priority?
LandAid’s priority is delivering our current 3-year strategic aims by March 2024 to create vital 1,000-bed spaces for young people. Although this is a huge achievement, it only just scratches the surface of the issue of youth homelessness. We are on track to have raised £10m this strategic cycle, and to broker additional significant value (we are on track to deliver c. £750k) via our Pro Bono Programme - benefitting many young people and charities across the UK.
Recent figures released from Centrepoint show that last year, 136,000 young people between 16-24 years old approached their local council for housing support - almost 50% increase over the last 5 years. LandAid’s mission to unite the property and wider built environment to end youth homelessness is now more vital than ever.2. What is the biggest challenge in the charity sector and how are you facing it?
The cost-of-living crisis needs no introduction. For charities, this means that securing vital funding is more difficult than ever (perhaps aptly coined the ‘cost of giving’ crisis by the sector).
There has been more than a 50% rise in young people facing homelessness since I joined LandAid in 2017. With increasing public sector cuts, charities are under pressure to deliver vital services for those in need - and with homelessness services being decommissioned by local and national government, charities are under increasing pressure to tackle need with ever-depreciating resources.
LandAid is working alongside our partners to deliver innovative solutions to create safe, secure accommodation for young people - working with the BTR sector to allocate units to create vital homes, plus creating routes out of homelessness and into education, employment, and training. There are numerous ways that the industry can raise funds to support our mission - more information can be found here
.3. What is one change or innovation that you would like to see the property industry embrace?
I think that the real estate industry is very astute and aware of the issues that it faces and needs to address - for example, many organisations have a keen eye on improving and making positive changes with diversity, the gender pay gap and wellbeing. But from a LandAid perspective, we are particularly alert to the need to respond to the corporate drive to deliver genuine social value and deliver the S in ESG - ensuring that this is more than just a tick box, but that we support the built environment industry to create real change.
We are advising many of our partners on the best possible way to achieve measurable and tangible impact for vulnerable young people. We are working with HACT (Housing Association’s Charitable Trust) to develop a social value calculator that can help the industry to understand, communicate and celebrate the impact made on your local communities.
We know that ESG matters to our network of invaluable partners, such as Evans Randall Investors, and we want to play a central role in helping the industry to address, understand and achieve that S. There are many ways to create social impact and value - and via LandAid, we can help the industry to make this count. 4. What is one building that inspires you and why?
For me, it would be Dawson Heights, a large, brutalist social housing estate in Dulwich. As a born and bred South Londoner, you can see this building from miles around. The building was designed by young architect, Kate Mackintosh, when she was just 26 years old - and built in the late 1960s. No corners were cut in the design of this housing block, with each of the 298 flats possessing its own private balcony and amazing views across London. It has guided me home on many an occasion, and during the pandemic, I often sought solace in its shadow as I gazed across the city from on high.5. Where is your favourite place in London and why?
I think it would have to be King’s Cross, the transformation of that part of town has been astounding. The design and use of the existing industrial buildings in the area are inspiring and I think they give a real distinctive character to the place. Kings Cross always has the most fantastic buzz to it, with so many brilliant restaurants, shops and things to do. And for me, it really has a character like no other place in London.