From left to right: Captain John Clifton, The Reverend Anthony Ball, Emmanuel Gotora, Stephen Serrant, Andy Hill, Lieutenant Colonel Drew McCombe, Tom Hill, Eddie Hughes MP, The Reverend Dr James Hawkey
Three leading organisations have combined forces to launch a formidable new partnership today (28th June) to help single people experiencing homelessness get their lives back on track.
Award-winning developer Hill Group, The Salvation Army and Citizens UK have together formed the SHC Partnership, following a £12m project by the developer to gift 200 specially designed and fully equipped modular homes over the next five years to organisations supporting people experiencing homelessness (at least half of these gifted units will be delivered through the partnership). The Partnership will create community-led supported accommodation projects, with The Salvation Army and Citizens UK working in partnership with people who have experienced homelessness, learning from their experience and building rich and inclusive communities.
In the grounds of Westminster Abbey today, to mark the launch, SHC Partnership is unveiling the SoloHaus, a modular home specially designed by Hill, furnished and ready to move into, which is at the heart of the new campaign to help tackle homelessness.
The homes have running costs of less than £5 a week and are designed to Future Homes Standards, exceeding building regulations for energy efficiency and sound insulation, and with a design life of 60 years.
The Partnership is now calling on the Government, local authorities, and landowners to back its programme, provide funding and help identify small pockets of land as sites for the homes.
Lieutenant Colonel Drew McCombe, of The Salvation Army, on behalf of the Partnership, said: “We have well designed modular homes ready to be installed, nationwide expertise in providing support to people experiencing homelessness and projects already in the pipeline. Modular housing like Malachi Place is a more cost effective, and better quality alternative to temporary accommodation. We need the Government and local authorities to give planning permission for modular housing, especially as ministers have missed their target for providing homes for people who experienced rough sleeping in March 2020.”
The Salvation Army and Citizens UK already partner on Malachi Place, a modular community-led supported accommodation project for single people experiencing homelessness in Ilford, East London. The initiative, started by ten-year old Malachi Justin donating his tooth fairy money to the Salvation Army, has now provided homes for more than 56 people since it opened in March 2020 and is supported by the London Borough of Redbridge.
The Salvation Army has a presence in 650 communities and currently accommodates a nightly average of four thousand people who were formally homeless. Working with Citizens UK and its network of leaders and volunteers who provide vital support at night shelters and food banks across communities and neighbourhoods, the two organisations offer a formidable combination of skills and expertise, backed by Hill’s provision of the modular homes and the company’s outstanding knowledge and track record in creating new communities.
SHC Partnership has already started work on setting up supported accommodation projects in Southend, Basildon, and Bristol, with opportunities being explored for projects in Harrow, Leicester, Merton, Greater Manchester (Oldham, Openshaw) and Taunton.
The SoloHaus homes are built in Hill’s factory with products developed by its manufacturing and modular homes specialist partner, Volumetric Modular Ltd, and delivered fully furnished. Hill designed the units, with the help of a number of leading homelessness charities, to ensure they meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness who may not have had access to private space for some time. SHC Partnership has already identified large-scale demand for the homes, which goes beyond the £12m Foundation 200 initiative. The homes are in production and available for local authorities and charities to purchase in the quantities they require.
Andy Hill, Chief Executive, The Hill Group, said: “Working with The Salvation Army and Citizens UK means that our SoloHaus modular homes can make a real tangible difference to homeless people nationwide and has added amazing firepower to our Foundation 200 programme to gift 200 homes. When the company marked its 20th anniversary in 2019, offering a solution to homelessness was our way of giving something back. We have already donated homes to local charities in Cambridge and other committed projects.”
Matthew Bolton, Executive Director, Citizens UK, said: “Our experience at Malachi Place was the starting point for our partnership with The Salvation Army, with an ambition to scale up modular housing for people experiencing homelessness across our local chapters. Creating a more humane housing and welfare system has been a long-term priority for Citizens UK, and we have been actively bringing together politicians, policy makers and community leaders to tackle what we view as nothing short of a crisis. We hope to build strong support within the Ministry of Housing to ensure that new funding streams will enable local authorities to apply for capital and revenue funding to support our programme and help people rebuild their lives, be valued members of their communities, gain the confidence to find work, and find more permanent accommodation.”