A £2 million scheme to renovate shared houses used to accommodate single homeless people is underway in Manchester.
The city council is investing the money from its Housing Revenue Fund to refurbish 14 shared houses. These are a combination of purpose-built properties and older buildings, which form part of its offer to provide temporary homes for single homeless people in need.
“Our investment in these properties shows our commitment to provide support services for people who are in need of help,” said Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of the city council. “These shared houses have been in use for more than 30 years and needed a complete overhaul to modernise them and bring them up to a high standard.
“It’s a big project and will take time but it will be worth it to ensure that they are up to date and fit for purpose as the demand is increasing all the time. We need good accommodation with support and advice on hand to help people get back on track no matter what their circumstances.”
The council’s arms length management organisation (ALMO), Northwards Housing is coordinating the programme with contractor Mears, which is carrying out the work. It is due for completion by the spring of 2020, the council says.
Situated across Manchester, each house accommodates up to 15 residents, with space for up to 160 single homeless people in supported temporary accommodation. Each house has a full-time member of staff who is available during the day to provide support and advice to tenants who are learning the skills to help them get ready to move on to live independently with a tenancy of their own.
Four of the houses are specifically targeted at young people aged 16-25.
According to the council, most of the shared housing properties were built in the mid-1980s and need a complete revamp. The renovation work includes fitting new windows, kitchens and bathrooms, complete rewiring as well as a refresh of bedrooms and communal living areas to bring them up to modern living standards.
The work will be carried out over a year and residents will be rehoused for up to six weeks while the refurbishment of properties takes place.
In addition, work is also underway to make several properties wheelchair accessible to help ease the growing need for accessible housing.
The council is currently working with partners, Sanctuary Housing who own and run Victoria House as homeless temporary accommodation, as well as the Salvation Army, to adapt properties for disabled access. Funded through the council’s Disabled Facilities Grant this will ensure that people with mobility issues who are homeless are able to access suitable accommodation.