East Suffolk Council has transformed a property in Lowestoft into specialist accommodation especially for former rough sleepers.
Following a successful bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, East Suffolk Council received £93,312 in September 2020 through the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP), to provide accommodation and support to rough sleepers during the pandemic.
An additional £389,482 was then secured from the NSAP earlier this year to provide support to rough sleepers in East Suffolk through the delivery of longer-term ‘move on’ accommodation. This has enabled the Council to purchase a large property in St Peter’s Street and over the past few months, the Housing Maintenance Team have worked tirelessly to transform the building into a seven-bed unit of specialist, supported accommodation specifically for former rough sleepers and single homeless people.
The accommodation will be managed by Orwell Housing, who will also provide care and support for residents, many of whom need a higher level of support before they are able to live independently and sustain a tenancy of their own. The tenants will be able to stay for up to two years, ensuring they have a roof over their heads and can access the support they need to ensure they do not need to return to the streets.
Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing said: “East Suffolk Council is committed to ending homelessness and rough sleeping and this new ‘move on’ accommodation will assist some of the most vulnerable members of our community, enabling them to stay safe, access support and develop the skills needed to live independently.
“This project has been delivered in an incredibly short space of time, from securing funding, to sourcing a suitable property and then carrying out extensive refurbishments and we are grateful for everyone’s hard work. We will continue to work closely with our partners to create appropriate and affordable solutions for those in housing need.”
Orwell’s Chief Executive, Wendy Evans-Hendrick said: “We’re really proud to be part of this fantastic project working with East Suffolk Council. The accommodation will not only provide a secure home, but also support for people to get back on their feet and make positive steps towards independent living.
“With our support, some of the most vulnerable people in the area can set foot on the path to a safer and more secure future. The benefits to those we will be supporting and the local community are great, and the speed at which this has all come together is testament to the excellent partnership working and commitment of all those involved.”
Following a successful ‘change of use’ application to convert the property in St Peter’s Street from a residential dwelling to a house of multiple occupation (HMO), substantial refurbishment works have been carried out. These include a new central heating system, rewiring of the electrics, installation of a fire protection and secure entry system, internal insulation upgrades, creation and installation of 7 ensuite shower rooms, a new kitchen, plastering, flooring and redecoration throughout. There is also an office for staff, a communal kitchen and living area and an outdoor amenity space.
An official opening event was held today, Monday 28th June, and was attended by representatives from East Suffolk Council and Orwell Housing.