Campaign UK - - NEWS - KATHARINE HIBBERT Founder and di­rec­tor, Dot Dot Dot

WHAT SHE DID Hibbert’s prop­erty-guardian so­cial en­ter­prise Dot Dot Dot has teamed up with Cos­mopoli­tan to of­fer young women who wouldn’t oth­er­wise be able to af­ford it the chance to live in London.

How did the part­ner­ship come about?

The idea of hous­ing Cos­mopoli­tan read­ers came out of a con­ver­sa­tion with its edi­tor, Far­rah Storr, and fea­tures di­rec­tor, Amy Grier, very early in the plan­ning process for their hous­ing cam­paign, “Home, Made”. That con­ver­sa­tion started as a “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” idea, but then we de­cided to do it for real.

Tell us about the project.

We’re hous­ing 12 read­ers – in all-fe­male houses – all of whom are in their first or sec­ond jobs and strug­gling with the ex­pense of London. The women were cho­sen be­cause they had great op­por­tu­ni­ties in the cap­i­tal that they couldn’t af­ford to take. Along­side their paid work, we’re sup­port­ing them to vol­un­teer for char­i­ties that help other women. Be­cause their cost of liv­ing is re­duced, they have more time and en­ergy to con­trib­ute.

The of­fer to Cos­mopoli­tan read­ers is sim­i­lar to what we pro­vide to the hun­dreds of peo­ple we house as guardians across the coun­try and sup­port to make a dif­fer­ence to causes they care about. The dif­fer­ence is that

Cos­mopoli­tan could bring in ebay to help fur­nish and style these prop­er­ties; and then, through Cos­mopoli­tan’s chan­nels, we could spread our mes­sage to a much broader au­di­ence.

What im­pact is the London hous­ing cri­sis hav­ing on young women?

Young women and men are crip­pled by the hous­ing cri­sis – home own­er­ship and so­cial hous­ing are out of the ques­tion, so they ei­ther rent pri­vately and deal with low stan­dards and high rent, or don’t move to London at all and miss the op­por­tu­ni­ties the cap­i­tal of­fers.

How long are the dis­used build­ings avail­able for? And what hap­pens to the res­i­dents when the land­lord finds a use for the prop­erty?

The build­ings we man­age are empty be­cause they are wait­ing to be sold, de­mol­ished or ren­o­vated. This means that the length of time they are avail­able for is un­pre­dictable and we can never give any guarantees about how long guardians will be able to stay. How­ever, be­cause re­gen­er­a­tion projects are com­plex and slow-mov­ing, the build­ings we man­age are of­ten avail­able for years and we work hard to re­house our guardians.

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