Temporary homes scheme a lifeline for city’s homeless
COLLABORATION AIMS TO CREATE 120 PROPERTIES
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