Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

New bid to support the homeless with former care home conversion

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 March 2018

Borough leader David Ellesmere and housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald at the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture; IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Borough leader David Ellesmere and housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald at the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture; IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Archant

A new £2.8million scheme will provide accommodation for homeless people in Ipswich - and help them to get their own home.

A courtyard at the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILA courtyard at the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Ipswich Borough Council is spending more than £2.8m to convert a former care home in the town, which closed three years ago after Care UK took over the county council’s nursing homes and built new centres.

Most of the building is likely to be used by homeless families, but there will also be council-run accommodation for individual homeless people for the first time.

The new building - the location of which is not being made public - has 47 rooms, 35 more than the current main homeless accommodation in Ipswich.

Council leader David Ellesmere said this was an additional facility and that other homeless centres in the town, apart from one small building near the town centre, would remain open.

A dayroom in the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILA dayroom in the new Homeless Unit in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

He said: “The new building should mean that we don’t have to rely on bed and breakfast accommodation. This will cost us £150,000 a year to run and bed and breakfast costs us £250,000 a year – it is also getting increasingly difficult to find bed and breakfast accommodation.”

The layout of the 1970s building will allow the rooms to be configured as individual bedsits or grouped together to form a flat for a larger family.

The length of time people live in the unit is likely to vary from a few days to several weeks for a family with particular accommodation needs.

The borough still has to obtain formal planning permission for the conversion work – but if that is approved work is due to start in the summer and the new unit should be up and running by spring 2019.

Portfolio holder for housing, Neil MacDonald, said: “There is quite a bit to do here although the basic layout of the building is very good for what we want to do.”

There are three wings to the building – which should make it easy to keep the accommodation for single people separate from that for families.

And new electronic locks will be installed which should make it easier to reconfigure the make-up of the flats or bedsits as the demand at any one time dictates.

Mr Ellesmere said: “It is a struggle to deal with homelessness but we believe this new centre will be very important to help people get back on their feet again.”

Homelessness a growing problem in Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said homelessness was a growing problem in the area – and other councils were sending people with nowhere to live to the town.

He said: “We don’t want to put people in bed and breakfasts anyway, but there are only two that are available in Ipswich now because many don’t want to offer accommodation to homeless people.

“And you find people sent to Ipswich from Norwich, from Colchester and other councils in Suffolk which put pressure on the number of rooms.”

To be eligible for accommodation in the new centre, homeless people will have to show they have a real connection with Ipswich – but that could include people who have been moved into the town.

Mr Ellesmere said: “If another council has put a family in the town and they stay here for any length of time, they can then ask us for help as they have an Ipswich connection.”

It was touch and go for Pickle the black Labrador when she was hit by a car on the A14 this summer – but now the determined pooch is making a remarkable recovery.

Armed police have raided a house in Ipswich as they investigate a suspected firearms incident.

Bosses behind the development of the former Sproughton sugar beet site have confirmed it will not be used as another out-of-town retail park.

More than 100 people are preparing to pound the pavements for a major walking event aimed at raising vital cash for Alzheimer’s research.

A balaclava-clad man brandishing a knife robbed a McColls convenience store in Ipswich.

Shopping in Ipswich has just got a little sweeter as Hotel Chocolat has opened its doors.

Six abandoned cats were discovered in a cramped carrier in woodland near Stowmarket.

An Ipswich van driver has been banned from the road after being caught speeding along the A12 on seven occasions in a month.

With the start of our big Books for Schools campaign just over a week away, we are looking for even more schools to take up the challenge.

While most people throw their empty plastic cleaning bottles away when they’re empty, one father of three from Essex has been refilling and reusing his for the last three years.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24