How many people get to live in a house they fell in love with? For a great many, even pre-boom, the house you live in is the house you can (just about) afford, at least with a first home. And with cheery phrases such as credit crunch and negative equity redefining the idea of a “property ladder”, the number of us stuck in homes that don’t suit us terribly well is considerable.
There’s another statistic to consider, though, and that is the number of people with no homes at all. They are the ones that organisations such as the Simon Community seek to help. Now in its sixth year, the annual RIAI Simon Open Door initiative aims to raise money for those who are homeless, or facing homelessness, while giving those of us who do have somewhere to live advice and inspiration to make our places better.
It’s a clever idea – for a 50 donation to the Simon Community, you get an hour’s consultation with an architect, who can advise you on anything, from building from scratch, conservation issues, extending, to making the most of what you have. Since the project began, hundreds of architects and thousands of members of the public have taken part, with €200,000 being raised in the process.