Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett have launched a new £3.7m housing development to prevent homelessness.
The pair cut the first sod at the new scheme in Salford which is being delivered by ForHousing and will see up to 39 new homes built to address a shortage of low-cost supported accommodation available to people who face becoming homeless.
“Tackling homelessness in Greater Manchester is one of my top priorities,” said Burnham.
“A big part of reducing levels of homelessness in the long term is to build more homes for social rent. Developments like this demonstrate a proactive solution to one of the biggest challenges faced by our society.
“This much-needed scheme will provide a stable platform to people at risk of homelessness to make a fresh start by giving them vital support and treating them with dignity and respect,” he said.
Dennett said: “There is a huge shortage of affordable housing, in particular one-bedroom properties which are so desperately needed.
“These new homes will go a long way to helping people get a roof over their heads. Providing more affordable homes for people to live in continues to be one of my top priorities.”
Both Burnham and Dennett got to hear first-hand about the impact that schemes like this can have, meeting with tenants who have transformed their lives after becoming homeless.
‘Josh’ had been homeless since 2017 and had received support through Andy Burnham’s A Bed Every Night scheme, which aims to ensure no one in Greater Manchester sleeps rough. He received the keys to his own home with ForHousing last week.
Having been sleeping on friends and families’ sofas or on the streets when he had nowhere else to turn, Josh said: “I think schemes like this new one on Haddon Road and the support provided are just what is needed to help people like me move on with our lives – they make a huge impact.
“My life has totally changed. I’m over the moon to have just got the keys to my new home.
“These houses will mean more people get the chance to rebuild their lives,” he said.
More than 5,500 people are homeless across Greater Manchester and more than 1,000 are homeless in Salford.
The new homes will be let at a low cost sub-social rent. They will also be inclusive of all associated utility bills and service charges.
ForHousing, which already delivers homeless support services to Cheshire West & Chester Council, will provide support to each tenant for two years to link them into employment and training opportunities, and long-term accommodation.
The one-bedroom self-contained apartments will transform three former garage sites in Eccles that had become hotspots for anti-social behaviour.
Planning approval has been secured at one of the sites where work is now under way.
Two other sites are awaiting approval.
ForHousing owns and manages more than 24,000 homes across the North West.
Nigel Sedman, Group Director of Homes, said: “A home is the building block to a brighter future. Everyone deserves a safe, warm place to call home.
“However, we know that for many, accessing affordable and sustainable homes is a significant challenge, especially those at risk of homelessness.
“This new development will provide high-quality homes along with vital support that will empower tenants and fuel their potential. It will give them a chance to secure work and move on to long-term accommodation and a new life.”
The development has been designed by JDA Architects and will be built by Bridgestone Construction.
A grant of £1.46 million has been secured from Homes England towards the scheme
The first site of the development is scheduled for completion in spring 2020 with the other two sites completing in summer 2020.