Scheme wants to transform Yorkshire car parks into overnight accommodation for homeless

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A scheme to help provide safe overnight accommodation for homeless people by repurposing public spaces - such as car parks - outside of office hours could be rolled out across Yorkshire.

The proposal also involves providing homeless people with a portable closet in which they can store personal effects that can be moved to the location where they will be sleeping on a given night. While, the creation of a mobile app would enable homeless people to reserve accommodation in advance.

The idea is the brainchild of young construction professionals Soran and Saman Shanapur, and proposes converting car parks into overnight homeless shelters to provide safe accommodation.

The idea has made the shortlist of RICS’ Cities for our Future competition and is in contention for a £50,000 prize.

The scheme is one of 12 ideas that have made the global competition’s shortlist, from over 1,200 entries, and could be rolled out across all UK cities where homelessness is a key problem, including those in Yorkshire and Humber, should it be chosen as the overall winner.

Soran Shangapur said: “Converting car parks to become temporary homeless shelters overnight is simple, cost effective and is an idea that could be implemented in all cities.

"Saman and I both feel passionately about the need to support people living on the streets and we are delighted that our idea is one of the final 12.”

The RICS Cities for our Future competition launched earlier this year to encourage young people from around the world to address the challenges facing the world’s cities, and provide innovative ideas to create real, practical solutions that cities can implement to overcome the challenges they face, such as homelessness.

The next step in the Cities for our Future competition run by RICS, in partnership with the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, will see each of the 12 finalists given an RICS mentor to help them develop their concepts into a viable project in advance of the final judging in November.

Amanda Clack, Head Judge of the regional judging panel for the UK and Head of Strategic Consulting, CBRE Ltd said: “Homelessness is a major challenge that affects every major city.

"This idea uniquely tackles this issue, as well as the competition’s brief, providing simple, scalable policy that can be applied to a number of cities around the UK and the wider world.”

The overall winner will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony in November.