Tem­po­rary homes scheme a life­line for city’s home­less


Coventry Telegraph - - News - By TOM DAVIS Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

A NEW pro­vi­sion of homes is help­ing to pro­vide tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion for Coven­try’s home­less at “the low­est point in their lives”.

The Sal­va­tion Army has en­tered into a part­ner­ship with prop­erty de­vel­oper Cor­ner­stones to ac­com­mo­date fam­i­lies in self-con­tained flats and houses.

Since it was set up four months ago, there are now around 50 prop­er­ties help­ing to keep the city’s home­less fam­i­lies safe and warm.

It comes as part of a drive to take home­less fam­i­lies out of tem­po­rary B&B and ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion, which cost Coven­try coun­cil a stag­ger­ing £4.1mil­lion last year.

And it is a scheme the Sal­va­tion Army hopes to ex­pand.

They aim to open 80 prop­er­ties to the home­less by mid-sum­mer, and 120 by the end of sum­mer, by work­ing with other lo­cal providers.

Gallery: See pho­tos of the in­side of one of the prop­er­ties for the home­less

Tony Higham, ser­vice man­ager at the Sal­va­tion Army, said: “It has been ex­cel­lent.

“These prop­er­ties are fit for pur­pose from the mo­ment some­body moves into them.

“Every­thing they need is in this prop­erty at the worst time and the low­est point in their lives when they have got noth­ing. They have toast­ers, mi­crowaves, ovens - every­thing is there.

“Be­fore any­thing is sent over we do a neigh­bour­hood check to see whether it would be suit­able for a fam­ily to go into.

“We fit it out, do the electrics, clean it and when that is signed off within days we could have some­body in.”

The Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­port­ing Ser­vice was re­cently given a tour of one of the new homes.

Big enough for a fam­ily of five, it con­tained a liv­ing room, din­ing room, kitchen, gar­den, a bath­room and three bed­rooms.

Leased by Cor­ner­stones, costs are pri­mar­ily met through the Hous­ing Ben­e­fit sys­tem.

Any short­fall is met by The Sal­va­tion Army, which has held the coun­cil’s con­tract for home­less­ness sup­port since 2014.

Cur­rently 425 fam­i­lies are in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ser­vice, which has in­creased year on year.

The lack of tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion for such fam­i­lies was high­lighted at the end of last year, when it was re­vealed around 350 fam­i­lies were liv­ing in B&Bs and tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion across the city shock­ingly some for as long as to two-and-a-half years.

Cost­ing as much as £100 per night, the coun­cil paid £4.1m last year alone - nearly a 620 per cent in­crease on the £570,000 ex­pen­di­ture in 2013/14.

Coven­try coun­cil is look­ing at ways to tackle this and has al­ready en­tered into an agree­ment to lease the Caradoc Hall flats to house the home­less.

This new Sal­va­tion Army scheme is fur­ther help­ing to ad­dress the prob­lem.

A typ­i­cal in­te­rior of one of the Sal­va­tion Army/Cor­ner­stone homes be­ing of­fered to home­less fam­i­lies

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