The scheme, built in partnership with St Helens Borough Council and OSCO Homes, is designed to provide a stable home and support formerly homeless people to increase their skills to become a successful tenant and ‘move on’ to find long-term accommodation.
The 12 new spacious homes, which include four one-bedroom bungalows and eight one-bedroom apartments on Egerton Street, near Sutton in St Helens, some of which are designed for people who have a disability or who are over 55, continues the partnership between Torus and St Helens Borough Council to bolster access to accommodation for those with specialist needs in the borough.
The £1.66m scheme is supported by Homes England as part of the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) ‘Move On’ fund, following a successful bid from St Helens Council and Torus.
Felicity Buchan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Housing and Homelessness) in the DLUHC said: “Our Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme is making a real difference to vulnerable people in society and Egerton Street is a fantastic example of this. This new development will have a long-term positive impact on residents and provide the support they need on their way to independent living.”
To mark the completion of the site representatives from Torus and one of the first residents, Carole Kinsey, welcomed partners from, DLUHC, St Helens Borough Council, local Councillors, Homes England, The Salvation Army and contract partners to site.
Torus Supported Housing Commissioning Manager, Sarah Houghton-Grimshaw, said: “We recognised the lack of specialist homeless accommodation for older people or those with a disability and wanted to address this. The four bungalows on the scheme offer older and disabled people who have experienced or at risk of rough sleeping good quality accommodation.
“I am incredibly proud that Torus have been able to build on our work with St Helens Council, Homes England and DLUHC to deliver this scheme. The bungalows and apartments offer modern, light spacious homes that people can be proud of.
“The support available from the Salvation Army and Torus will enable people to take the final step on the journey from homelessness to independence and we wish all of the residents well on that journey.”
Councillor Richard McCauley, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, added: “Hearing the feedback from some of the first Egerton Street residents, you can’t overstate the difference these lovely new homes are making for those in need. Torus have done a brilliant job of presenting these specialist homes in a great location, inclusive with the community and surrounding development.
“With the support from Homes England, DLUHC, Torus and The Salvation Army, and a home that residents can be proud of, we’re making real progress in the work to end homelessness in St Helens Borough.”
The scheme offers unrivalled quality homes, with fully fitted kitchens and appliances, all properties are carpeted, blinds and a full furniture and starter pack, and each homes has access to private outdoor space for everyone including upstairs apartments.
Homes have incorporated latest technology, with charging points for electric mobility cars and energy efficiency features, to help reduce energy bills for the tenants, including Solar PV and Thermoskirt ‘no gas’ heating system which passes warm water through hidden pipes behind skirting to radiate heat into the room.
As well as a quality home, each property has a two-years assured tenancy agreement accompanied by support from The Salvation Army, a support worker will be allocated to the scheme to assist people to overcome personal barriers, manage their tenancy, bills and budgeting, enabling them to build their confidence to do things for themselves, before moving onto more permanent general needs housing.
Robert Long regional manager for The Salvation Army homelessness services in the North West said: “We’re thrilled to again be working with St Helens Borough Council, Torus and Osco Homes to bring the vision and passion we all have to life and it’s great to see our alliance go from strength to strength.
“The Salvation Army is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and to do this it’s important that we work with other organisations to offer residents the best opportunity to rebuild their lives. We’re excited to be able to expand our established, tailored support to older people and people who have disabilities – providing a stable home and supporting people to live independently and to have hope for what the future brings.”
Sarah, added: “People who have been at Champions for a period and have moved towards managing the tenancy successfully can apply to move to Egerton. The route from homelessness to full independence in a tenancy can require a gradual journey with a reducing level of support. Support staff will be based at Champions and deliver community based floating support to Egerton. There will be some group work sessions supported by specialist agencies and The Torus Foundation that Egerton residents can attend at Champions.”
Four people have now moved into Egerton, including 59-year-old Carole Kinsey, who gained her own independence through support from The Salvation Army when she was initially living at Champions Court, a supported housing scheme to help people escape the cycle of homelessness.
“I am very fortunate to be receive such a lovely and spacious bungalow in such a quiet area. I still have the on-hand support from The Salvation Army and Torus should I need it.
“Living at Champions Court, helped me build relationships with the support team and build my confidence, allowing me to take this next step and I am extremely grateful for that and all they do whilst I am living here.”
Investing in communities
Talking about the development, Colin Lafferty, Senior Development Manager at Torus Developments, continued: “Egerton Street is the second modular housing scheme we have built in St Helens, with modular house builder, OSCO Homes and it’s fantastic to know that these homes will now go onto become energy efficient, safe and modern homes for people who need it the most.
“Egerton Street follows on from our Pennine Close scheme and we continue to see the benefits modular homes bring to not only us as a developer, but to communities and residents themselves. We’re looking forward to continuing to explore more modern methods of construction and understanding the full potential it can offer Torus Developments and the people at the heart of our builds – our tenants.”
Egerton Street builds on a £22m investment into the supported housing offer in St Helens and is one of several schemes from Torus. The refurbishment of three blocks of flats at Appleton Road to create supported living schemes, Champions Court and Stadium View, the development of Foundry Wharf – a 130 home Extra Care independent living complex – and the completion of a number of homes for over 55s at Crab Street, Egerton Street further marks the group’s pledge to build homes that will support people to live well.