The Startblok scheme in Amsterdam
Share

Press release: LandAid funds innovative modular housing projects to help prevent youth homelessness

James de Souza | 23.02.18

LandAid, the property industry charity, is funding two innovative modular housing projects to provide eight new homes for young people at risk of homelessness in the South-West. They will be the first modular housing projects LandAid has funded.

LandAid has awarded a total of £120,000 in grant funding to two new modular housing projects. The projects will be run by local homelessness charities 1625 Independent People, United Communities and Somerset Care Repair. Once complete, they will provide homes for eight young people.

In Bristol, a LandAid grant of £60,000 will enable 1625 Independent People (1625ip) to contribute funding to create five one-bed modular housing units from refitted shipping containers. The five LandAid-funded homes will be for young people who are moving on from supported housing, are ready for work and independent living, but are unable to afford private rented accommodation in the local area.

In Somerset, a separate £60,000 grant to Somerset Care and Repair for their Build2Live scheme will create three one-bed homes for young people who are moving on from fully supported hostels. The new homes will be built using timber frame modular construction and energy saving technology to provide the most energy-efficient accommodation possible. The charity is also working with probation services to identify young ex-offenders who could work on the Build2Live project, gaining construction skills for future employment.

Modular housing techniques can provide an effective solution for young people facing homelessness. The homes are quick to build, cost-effective and crucially, they enable people to stay in their local area, rather than having to be relocated miles away from their support network of family and friends and their place of study or work.

The Bristol project is inspired by the Startblok scheme in Amsterdam that houses students alongside young refugees. Young people moving on from supported housing will be housed alongside Bristol University students and they will be supported to develop and use their shared skills to self-manage the scheme together. It is being developed through a partnership between 1625ip, United Communities who will provide funding, Bristol University’s Student Union and Bristol City Council.

Paul Morrish, Chief Executive of LandAid, says: “At LandAid, we want to harness the energy, enthusiasm and innovation of the construction industry to transform the lives of vulnerable young people. We’re delighted to be funding these modular housing projects, following on from the success of a similar scheme in Amsterdam. We strongly believe the homes will help young homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, to move on and lead successful, independent lives.”

Dom Wood, Chief Executive Officer of 1625 Independent People, says: “We have a lot of young people who are ready to move on from supported housing, but with the gap between rents and salaries or Local Housing Allowance, the opportunities are just not there. Having watched the improvements in modular design and build over the years and with young people loving the designs we have shown them we decided that this is what is needed to bridge the affordability gap and still provide excellent housing.”

Mike Lake, Managing Director of Somerset Care and Repair, says: “We believe that by using modern construction techniques and timber-frame housing we can not only provide low-cost homes, but more importantly, provide opportunities for homeless people, especially those in their early twenties, to learn new and practical skills. We hope that we can create a model that can be rolled out across the county, and possibly further, that creates jobs, housing and a future for younger homeless people who struggle the most.”

Oona Goldsworthy, Chief Executive United Communities, says: "We were inspired by the Dutch approach of mixing communities together and want to create an alternative to the high density and expensive student blocks that now dominate our City Centers. We think there is room for both, if students and young people are to have any choice”.

Photo: The Startblok scheme in Amsterdam provided the inspiration for 1625ip’s project, which will house young people moving on from supported housing alongside Bristol University students.