George Clarke: “I wish The Big Issue was not needed but it is”

The architect and housing campaigner is giving The Big Issue his backing as he joins our ambassadorial programme and throws his weight behind our Ride Out Recession Alliance

TV architect and housing campaigner George Clarke has a simple message for the government: prevent mass unemployment and homelessness

Clarke is best known for his tireless campaigning, which has seen him become a national treasure. Last year, 268,000 people signed his petition pushing the government to build more council houses.

I feel duty bound to do something. So that’s why I’m joining The Big Issue and that’s why I’m going to be making a big noise about the work of RORA

Now an ambassador for the Big Issue, he will work alongside fellow ambassadors Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Winkleman and Daniel Mays to urge the public to support vulnerable vendors who can no longer sell the magazine during lockdown.

The star is also supporting The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance to keep people in their homes and jobs. 

Writing for this week’s Big Issue magazine, available from The Big Issue Shop or with a subscription to support your local vendor now, he says too many people are at risk of homelessness as the economic impact of the coronavirus hardens — the thought of which brings him to tears.

“I wish we did not have the problem with homelessness in this country. I wish The Big Issue was not needed. But we have it. And it is. So I’m all in,” he says. 

“The idea of home is central to everything that I do. It’s not architecture with a big capital A – I do homes and I do housing. 

“It all starts with home. If you’ve got that stability, you’ve got a chance at other things in life. 

“Hopefully your health can be decent and stable, your kids can go to school every morning knowing that they are coming home to the same house each night and they’ve got their own bed to sleep in.”

Clarke calls on the government to work with The Big Issue and realise that “we are all here to help”. 

He adds: “I’m supporting The Big Issue push. What’s amazing about the work The Big Issue is doing with RORA – the Ride Out Recession Alliance – is that it’s pulling together influential and good people to prevent more people going from that position of just getting by to facing unemployment and homelessness. 

“RORA’s key messages are very simple: Keep people in their homes and keep people in employment. 

“I feel duty bound to do something. So that’s why I’m joining The Big Issue and that’s why I’m going to be making a big noise about the work of RORA.” 

Read more from Clarke in this week’s Big Issue, available from your local vendor now

Have you been affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic? The Big Issue is committed to supporting its readers and find ways to help people stay in their jobs and in their homes through our Ride Out Recession Alliance. Send your stories and ideas to rora@bigissue.com to help us support those who need it most.