Award winning housebuilder, The Hill Group, officially handed over the keys for six SoloHaus to Southend-on-Sea City Council, the first council in Essex to make use of these purpose-built modular homes as follow-on accommodation for people experiencing homelessness in the local area.
Regional Director Eastern Partnerships, Robert Jack at The Hill Group, and Captain Tracey Bale of The Salvation Army joined Southend-on-Sea City Council for the official handover of these purpose-built homes, providing much-needed safe and secure housing for people to rebuild their lives after a period of rough sleeping. The turnkey homes have been gifted by Hill, including all associated external works and installation. The Salvation Army – the church and charity that own and manage the project – will provide ongoing support to residents on their journey to independence.
The need for safe, secure accommodation for people experiencing homelessness in the UK remains acute. The new homes will help those affected to rebuild and stabilise their lives, a process which is far more difficult to undertake from a hostel or hotel room.
SoloHaus was developed as the housing solution to Hill’s philanthropic initiative, Foundation 200, a £15m pledge to manufacture and donate 200 modular homes over a five year period to charities working in homelessness.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for housing and regeneration at Southend-on-Sea City Council comments: “We are very pleased to support this joint initiative which will help people move on in a safe and secure environment. We are extremely thankful to The Hill Group for making this happen and gifting these six brilliant modular homes. They are sure to make a huge difference to people in Southend-on-Sea getting back on their feet after facing a period of homelessness.
“Tackling homelessness remains a priority and during the pandemic we offered emergency accommodation to many that were sleeping rough. We are determined to continue these efforts and help people off the streets through longer-term support initiatives such as this.”
The homes are specially designed, fully furnished and equipped for a single person to move straight into. Each modular home provides a sleek independent space and a safe, comfortable environment for residents to transition to independent living in more permanent accommodation. The homes, which are built to last for at least 60 years, have energy costs of £5 a week and are designed to Future Homes Standards, which exceeds building regulations for energy efficiency and sound insulation.
Andy Hill, Group Chief Executive at The Hill Group, said: “We are pleased to be working with Southend-on-Sea City Council and The Salvation Army to gift the first purpose-built modular homes in Essex. We designed SoloHaus to aid vulnerable individuals with nowhere to call home and I am confident that this scheme will be life changing for many Essex residents. ”
A team of staff from the Salvation Army will work with Southend-on-Sea City Council to provide specialist support to enable residents to adjust and settle into their new homes, as well as prevent the recurrence of homelessness.
Captain Tracey Bale, Salvation Army leader in Southend, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our first residents into their new homes in Leigh on Sea. People that are transitioning away from homelessness are often the most vulnerable in society, and here at Malachi Southend, they will be able to adjust to life off the streets, which for many, will be the first time in a long time that they will experience a period of calm and hope in their lives.”
“Residents will have access to 24 hour support and The Salvation Army is working across the public and community sector to deliver wider support to the local area through our work.”
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