Home East London Micro homes for the homeless that are just 25sq metres set to...

Micro homes for the homeless that are just 25sq metres set to open in South London

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Fully built 21-metre modular homes equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, electrics and plumbing have been delivered to South London to house 30 homeless young people. With the help of its patron, Prince William, Centrepoint has teamed up with M-AR to house 33 young people facing homelessness in refurbished units as part of its Independent Living Programme.

Importantly, rent for the homes is capped at one third of the young person’s salary, in a bid to tackle the obstacles presented to homeless people entering the housing crisis. Katelin, 19, currently lives in one of the existing modular homes in East London. A family breakdown meant that she had to move into a YMCA hostel, and found herself like many young people unable to afford rent.

She told MyLondon that her family unit had “complications”, and was “not really working out”. She continued: “Obviously council properties were never an option because they class you as housed, and I was unemployed. So I was referred to Centrepoint via my support worker at YMCA.”

The new modular homes will provide safe and affordable housing throughout London, following the success of their existing units in Lewisham and East London, and Centrepoint plans to extend them to Barnet, Hounslow, Waltham Forest and Manchester.

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MyLondon got a first look at the new modular homes yesterday, which will be finished by May this year

Orla Constant, relationship director at Centrepoint, explained why the scheme is so necessary to their work. She said: “Young people are finding it extremely difficult to leave us. So we get them healthy mentally and physically at Centrepoint, we look after those needs, we skill them up with education and job skills, we help them get into training, and then basically when they’re at that point they have very little need for support.”

She continued: “But in London and Manchester, with the rents rising so high – they haven’t got any social capital, most of our young people – and they couldn’t afford the huge deposit rent and the actual rent. And they’ll be in starter jobs or apprenticeships that may not be hugely well paid.”

Many of the young people they work with will find themselves at threat of homelessness again within a couple of months of leaving Centrepoint, and ending up back at square one. Katelin said: “It’s completely independent. You get given a housing officer when you move in who you can contact about repairs or any problems.”

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The modular homes were delivered equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, electrics and plumbing

She added: “It’s a nice community as well. Everyone who lives there is all around the same age. We get along really well – we’ve all come from similar places like B&Bs, hostels, or sleeping rough.”

Each home is just 21 square metres, and the homes are stacked on top of each other, with stairs and walkways soon to be put in. As the tiny homes were delivered fully fitted, it costs construction time by 50 per cent – Centrepoint has said the 33 young people will arrive in May.

To the young people who will be moving into the Peckham modular homes in May, Katelin said: “It’s a great opportunity, take it. And use your time while you’re here. Obviously it’s not forever, but it’s a great foundation to start off with work, like goals that you thought you could do. Just do it. It’s a fantastic opportunity and if you’re being offered it.”

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The “ambitious” scheme hopes to help end youth homelessness by 2037

Having lived in a hostel just a few years ago, Katelin is now saving for a mortgage, and plans to go to university, as well as travel for a while. “Quite ambitious plans,” she said, “but they’ll go ahead hopefully.”

Orla said: Our strategy and our aim is by 2037, we hope to end youth homelessness. That’s a good 15 years from now. We launched our strategy last year, so a baby born last year will be 16 years of age.

“So when you’re 16, you’re in the care system, you’re on your own, you might end up with us at Centrepoint. We hope that in 2037, there will be no need for Centrepoint to exist any longer.

“We have great support from our patron Prince William, and he is fully behind the independent living programme.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/micro-homes-homeless-just-25sq-23105646