London needs shelters – it gets mansions

Top property CEOs hear first hand of the need for new shelters, as a single part of the city gets £500m worth of  ‘mansions’.


London needs more shelters for the homeless – it’s getting £500m worth of new luxury mansions.

The need for at least one new emergency shelter was outlined when the capital’s top property CEOs joined broadcaster Jon Snow to host a charity breakfast in a corporate fundraising effort for the King’s Cross based New Horizon Youth Centre serving homeless 16 -21-year olds.

Last year some 7,500-people slept rough on London’s streets; with a total of 170,000 people having no permanent London home

The Kings’ Cross centre supports up to 60 young homeless Londoners a day; over 7,000 young people per year.

With this going on, a new property survey shows 12 mansions – with a combined market value of £500m – are either under construction or recently completed in a single part of the city alone.

So-called ‘ultra-high-net-worth buyers’ have purchased existing, outdated houses in St john’s Wood for replacement by new mega-mansions as speculative projects – primarily for overseas purchase.

Among those cooking and serving at the New Horizon breakfast were leaders from Galliard Homes, Cain International, O’Shea, Fairview New Homes and Aston Chase.

In turn, the developers digested first-hand insight into the crisis of youth homelessness, before making pledges to fund New Horizon’s vital work with those affected

And New Horizon needs over £200,000 annually through corporate donations to support its vital work

Then the event got down to business to talk through designs and funding for a new 21,000 sq ft homeless shelter.

As planned, the new shelter would provide 3,186 sq. ft. of short-stay accommodation, 2,131 sq. ft. of long-stay accommodation, 1,636 sq. ft. of co-working spaces, 9,074 sq. ft. of co-living spaces, 1,400 sq. ft. of communal areas and a 958-sq. ft. charity shop – built on a central London site and self-financed with revenue from the co-working and co-living spaces

Architectural practice Morris+Co designed this shelter based on their ‘Stepping Stones’ concept, a transient, community-focused idea

The Breakfast was hosted by Channel 4 broadcast journalist Jon Snow who is also patron of the charity – having worked as centre’s manager in 1970 before becoming chair from 1986 to 2016

“I hosted this charity breakfast to raise new funds for the centre to continue its vital work, the generous donations from London’s leading property developers have further supported the centre’s mission to help every vulnerable or disadvantaged Londoner we can,” he said.

New Horizon opened in 1967 in St Botolph’s church, Bishopsgate, to offer a seven day a week support service network for the capital’s most vulnerable young people, having moved to its current Charlton Street premises in 1995.

Centre chief executive Phil Kerry said some 60 young Londoners were supported a day per day.

“The breakfast has aided our ongoing corporate fundraising initiative, and it was fantastic for our young visitors to meet and talk with so many prominent figures of the property industry.”

New Horizon Breakfast – They said it

Stephen Conway, Executive Chairman, Galliard Group: “These young people deserve to be helped and supported and that¹s what we are all here for. I was really pleased to meet and try to support those most affected by homelessness

“It was also a bit of fun for all of us CEOs to roll up our sleeves in the youth centre kitchen and cooking up the breakfasts – the opportunity to try to help these young Londoners and hear first-hand their experiences highlights how essential this day centre is, it’s a cause that deserves our full support.”

Jonathan Goldstein, Chief Executive, Cain International: “We are not building enough homes in London, and we are not helping these young people get on the housing ladder.

“We are not providing these young people with a roof over their heads, which is utterly essential in any sort of benevolent society and that¹s where we need to start and why we are all here today, to try and make a difference.”

Polina Pencheva, Project Architect, Morris+Company: “The lack of purpose-built, dignified accommodation for the homeless puts mounting pressures on charities such as New Horizon who provide housing advice and general support to homeless young people.

“We believe our proposal is a realistic future development model – we delighted to support this fundraising initiative which enables New Horizon to continue their invaluable support work and bring projects such as Stepping Stones to the forefront of debate.”

Similar stories by tag