Hidden homelessness is an increasing issue in the UK. With public benefits cut to a minimum, social housing becoming increasingly privatised and housing development falling well short of the necessary quotas, the issue is rising to a point where it will soon begin to affect our economy well into the future. A great deal of work is being done to try to rectify these issues. However, after extensive research, it became clear to us that a particular area seems to have gone unnoticed - death debt.
In 2017 the average cost for a funeral was around £7000. This money is expected to be paid for by the next of kin, yet not everyone has this kind of money available. Thus the payee has two choices; take out a loan and proceed to fall into ‘death debt’ or allow the state to take over and give the deceased a ‘Paupers Funeral’ - a mass funeral, cremation and burial.
In response to these issues, 'Grave Investments' was developed; A speculative project drawing parallels between the current housing crisis in London and death debt. By investing in cemetery plots as a business model, ‘Grave Investments’ revolves around maximising profit without regard for those who it neglects within the capitalist society, thus contributing to a system that increasingly makes people homeless, compromising their dignity and affecting their mental health. These issues evidently parallel the privatisation of social housing within London.
‘Grave Investments’ aims to create an educated debate about the ever growing issue of debt, poverty and social housing. By shining a light on a situation that is intrinsically linked to emotions, it allows us to communicate these problems through a different context, that is unbearably close to reality. This project is not offering a solution to the current system, but simply brings a fresh perspective to some increasingly worrying issues.