Your RORA idea: ‘Give laid-off builders the chance to adapt empty homes’

As part of our Ride Out Recession Alliance, James Watts wants to see creative ways to help construction workers rebuild their careers. We'd love to hear your ideas too. Get in touch at

As a Big Issue subscriber, I just wanted to say thank you for keeping me up to date, through the Ride Out Recession Alliance, with the voices and the reality of what many renters are currently facing.

I have no easy answers (although I’m thinking about them), but how about this for a starter:

Could we not get construction workers who have been laid off to be funded by central or local government to adapt local unused properties which are unlikely to be sold in the near future into liveable and reasonably safe and comfortable homes for those who face eviction in the local area?

It would be a stop-gap both for those at risk of unemployment in the construction industry, and those facing the threat of life back on the streets.

If central or local government won’t fund it, how about selling bonds to the local community so people can fund it themselves? Of course there will be a commitment to future payback when the renovated buildings are sold, after local homelessness has been managed down to a level that the housing stock is no longer needed. It’s a long-term investment, but as long as people are fully aware of that…

Funding the implementation and salaries through community bonds may also make it a more attractive proposition for local councils to pass on the properties at a knock-down rate for work to start on them asap and get them prepared for the autumn/winter.

Best wishes,