A GROUND-BREAKING scheme to help homeless people get back on their feet has been welcomed by a leading Worcester homelessness campaigner.
Hugo Sugg backed Worcester City Council’s decision to give the green light to the Homeless Foundation for an iKozie Micro Home to be built on St George’s Lane in Barbourne.
Costing around £40,000 to build and measuring 186 square foot (17.25sqm), the self-contained unit features a living area, a kitchen complete with appliances, a bedroom, a bathroom, as well as a dedicated support worker on hand to guide the occupant.
Hugo, creator of ‘Hugo’s Earthquake’, a campaign which aims to raise awareness of youth homelessness, welcomed the new project which provides a fully-fitted micro-home to help a young person transition from a hostel into independent living.
“I think this project is a really good idea. I am very pleased to read that there is a dedicated support worker with the young people, as accommodation on its own is usually seen as the only solution but research shows a support worker is needed for a smooth transition,” he said.
“As a homeless campaigner, I welcome the move to supporting young people who are homeless, but feel that education around the realities of independent living needs to be given to year 10-11 students so they can make informed choices.
“I would be happy to support the Homeless Foundation and other organisations to develop a programme of education for local schools to help bring down the numbers of homeless in the first place,” he added.
Using modular construction off-site, the home will be lifted into position via a crane in the back garden of an existing house upon completion.
It has also been suggested that the iKozie Micro-Home could aid in helping young people get a home of their own and get away from shared housing, as rents would be similar.
Kieran O’Donnell, trustee of The Homeless Foundation, said: “We are extremely grateful to Worcester City Council for embracing this innovative idea.
“There is a huge shortage of move-on accommodation for the homeless and we are delighted that we can now build the first of what could be many affordable, micro-homes and continue our mission to help the homeless move on to independent living.”
The homes can also be stacked to create new sustainable mixed communities for students, young professionals and key workers in addition to the homeless.
Coun Roger Berry, cabinet member for housing and heritage, said: “Worcester City Council is delighted to support this innovative solution to housing young people as they make a new start in their lives.
“With increased pressure on the public purse, cost effective and innovative solutions like this are projects the Council is proud to support,” he added.
Visit www.homelessthf.org for more information on the project or follow @HugoSugg on Twitter for more on Hugo’s Earthquake.