IKEA and Shelter launch ‘Real Life Roomsets’ in four stores to highlight UK housing emergency

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IKEA is hosting the project to raise awareness of the UK housing crisis

IKEA and their national charity partner, Shelter, have teamed up to launch an instore project designed to highlight the UK housing crisis. ‘Real Life Roomsets’ is a project launched as part of their joint campaign demanding for 90,000 social homes to be built a year by 2030, as over two thirds (69%) of adults in the UK agree more social housing needs to be built.

The roomsets, which are a stark contrast to those found in IKEA’s famously inspiring and well-designed showrooms, are based on real stories of people local to the stores involved. Each roomset highlights the cramped, dangerous, and grotty spaces that an increasing number of people who are experiencing homelessness are forced to experience when living in temporary accommodation.

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The launch of the roomsets comes as the campaign publishes new data on the housing crisis. According to the research, one in five (21%) adults in the UK are worried about losing their home, with half (49%) saying if they lost their current home, they would struggle to find somewhere else to live.

In the past year in order to keep up with their housing costs, 18% of adults in the UK say they have taken on additional work, 17% have skipped meals and a further quarter (25%) would consider it.

The four roomsets are located in IKEA stores near cities experiencing some of the worst levels of homelessness in the country:

·       London: where 1 in 58 people are experiencing homelessness

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·       Manchester: where 1 in 74 people are experiencing homelessness

·       Birmingham: where 1 in 80 people are experiencing homelessness

·       Bristol: where 1 in 183 people are experiencing homelessness

Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer, IKEA UK & Ireland, said: “The focus on building ‘affordable’ homes rather than social housing is a distraction from finding a real solution to the housing emergency, which currently relies on the unsuitable provision of temporary accommodation where families are being forced to live in uninhabitable and unacceptable conditions.

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“At IKEA, we believe that everyone deserves a place to call home, which is why we’re so proud to partner with Shelter in demanding for long-term change, whilst also helping those directly affected by the housing emergency in our local communities.”

The Real life roomset at IKEA in Bristol (photo: Tim Gander/PinPep)The Real life roomset at IKEA in Bristol (photo: Tim Gander/PinPep)
The Real life roomset at IKEA in Bristol (photo: Tim Gander/PinPep) | Tim Gander/PinPep

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “A grotty hostel or B&B is not a home, but this is the reality for too many families stuck in temporary accommodation. That’s why we’re working with IKEA to show the grim living situations that families who become homeless are having to face – from having no space for children to do homework or play, to having to share beds, to being moved miles away from schools and support networks.

“With rents at an all-time high and no end to the cost of living crisis in sight, we’re desperately worried that more people are going to become homeless this year. The solution to this crisis is simple and it’s staring the government in the face: we must build a new generation of good quality social housing that people can actually afford to live in.”

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