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Housing

Ikea staff will soon be offering housing advice to help prevent homelessness

The flat-pack furniture giant is working with Shelter to prevent homelessness with staff becoming ‘life at home experts’ to let you know your housing rights

Ikea staff will be trained to offer advice on housing rights alongside flat-pack furniture as part of a new project to prevent homelessness.

‘Co-workers’ at the furniture giant will become ‘life at home experts’ next year as part of a new partnership with housing charity Shelter. The training will give staff the tools to help people in precarious housing situations to understand their rights in the hope it will help them keep their home.

In return, Ikea will also fund housing rights workers at Shelter’s advice hubs with the pair hoping to reach half a million people impacted by the housing emergency by 2030.

Both organisations have called on the government to build 90,000 social homes a year by the same year as a long measure to tackle the housing crisis.

Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer for Ikea UK & Ireland, said: “At Ikea, we want to create a better everyday life for the many people. This ambition goes beyond just home furnishing: We want to have a positive impact on the world.

“We’re in a national housing and cost of living crisis that’s hitting families and people suffering homelessness the hardest. That’s why it’s even more important for companies such as ours to take responsibility and contribute positively to the neighbourhoods we’re part of.”

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The new long-term partnership comes at a time when house prices andrents are at record highs and there are warnings of rising homelessness as the cost of living crisis bites. The two organisations have called for  “systemic change”.

Shelter’s training to help Ikea co-workers become life at home experts represents the first time the housing charity has worked with a partner organisation to educate staff on local and national housing issues and rights.

The team-up will also include a three-year research project following families living in social housing with the aim of demonstrating to the government the need for systemic change.

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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Rising rents, poor quality homes and spiralling living costs are pushing even more people to the brink of homelessness, making our work at Shelter as critical as ever. Every day we help hundreds of people and families impacted by the housing emergency, but we can’t do it alone.”

“Through our new partnership with Ikea we hope to reach even more people with vital housing advice and support at a time when they need it most.”

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