Just attended a screening this evening of a film produced here in Oxfordshire to raise awareness of all the local charities and agencies working collaboratively to support those who for many and various reasons find themselves homeless and without safe and stable shelter.
It seemed to me the over riding ambition for the film has to be to break down the myths associated with homelessness and not to assume that the situation can simply be sorted by providing more affordable housing which appears to the approach to be adopted by the government's recent announcement. Like most social challenges we face homelessness is complex and cannot simply be fixed with a single option approach although, that's not to say we need more of those too and there is definitely a lot more we could all be doing to help.
Therefore, I was delighted to learn last week of one such practical solution that Starbucks has considered in offering its employees interest free loans to meet the rising cost of rental deposits which now average £1,226. Definitely an indication that maybe there is growing awareness on this whole issue and a more worthy, interesting and socially acceptable initiative from an organisation whose previous record for corporate responsibility was badly damaged in 2012 by royalty payments to a sister company that significantly reduced its UK corporation tax bill.
Starbucks is to start providing interest-free loans to its employees to help them afford the cost of a deposit on a rental property. The coffee chain has also said that it will pay all of its UK staff the living wage from spring next year, meaning a pay-rise for around 4,500 employees. Starbucks said that its “home sweet loan” scheme, which it has developed alongside housing charity Shelter, is the first of its kind by a private company, following similar moves by government departments and the Co-operative Group. “We know the cost of living is a key concern for many, with the average rental deposit in England now £1,226 and with over half of our partners being under 25 years old, that rent affordability is an issue that affects them. These initiatives are two of the ways we are able to support the great people that work with us.”