In an effort to tackle the UK housing crisis, IKEA employees will be trained as advocates

In England, almost 2.5 million renters are either behind or struggling to pay their rent — that's an increase of 45% since April 2022. Aiming to address the UK's housing emergency through systemic change, IKEA is teaming up with the housing advocates at Shelter. The partnership is calling for the UK government to build 90,000 social housing units a year by 2030.

In the meantime, Shelter will be training IKEA staff members to become 'Life at Home Experts' who can help people understand their housing rights and prevent them from losing their homes through early intervention. IKEA will also fund Shelter's own Housing Rights Workers, who aid local communities from neighborhood hubs.

IKEA's partnership with Shelter follows its A Place Called Home initiative, launched in March 2021 to assist homeless populations in the US.

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Over 112,000 UK households are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, and more than a million are on social housing waiting lists. Those numbers are set to rise as the cost of living crisis deepens. 

With its focus on affordable home goods — and its deep pockets — IKEA is well positioned to lend a helping hand. As Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA UK & Ireland, stated: "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."

Many of IKEA's workers will know people at risk of losing their homes, and some might be facing a housing emergency of their own. By giving them the opportunity to help others, the retailing behemoth is offering its employees a way to feel empowered in the midst of economic and political turmoil. One to be inspired by?

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