The housing and homelessness charity Shelter has launched a new advertising campaign to encourage people facing housing problems to seek earlier advice. The campaign aims to tackle a common reluctance to do this: a survey carried out in 2010 by the Civil and Social Justice Panel found that 50 per cent of people do not seek external advice when they are in housing difficulties.
The main focus of the activity is a series of poster advertisements. Each depicts a person in distress because they face a serious crisis, such as sudden job loss or mounting debt. They carry a single headline which shares with the viewer the desperation the person is feeling. The aim is that the combined impact of the headline and image will resonate with people experiencing these problems and tap into their concerns and drive them to seek advice, says Shelter.
The charity says that early advice can be crucial in helping people with housing issues to find a positive outcome for their problem. The advertising campaign aims to highlight this as well as demonstrating how people can seek help.
The campaign was created by the the communications consulting firm Amplify on a pro bono basis. The poster campaign has been launched in four towns which have been identified as hotspots for housing problems and are running for six weeks from from 21 August. Advertisements are also running on Facebook and mobile messaging.
Shelter says the campaign's impact will be measured by tracking traffic to its website and by monitoring attitudes to housing in the towns where the advertisements are run.
Kay Boycott, director of campaigns, policy and communications at Shelter, said: “In these tough economic times, more and more people across the country are struggling to keep their heads above water and are in desperate need of our help.
“Fifty per cent of people don’t seek external advice when they encounter housing problems, so our priority in this campaign is to increase the number of people coming to us for help and reaching a positive outcome."
She continued, “Visitors to our online advice pages have increased by over a third in the last year, proving that there’s a growing demand for digital guidance. We hope the campaign will have a significant impact in showing people who have been hit by difficult times."