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New 4-bedroom house for homeless people in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 14:55 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:37 17 July 2020

Emma Francis, community manager for Emmaus, at the new homeless accommodation in Ipswich. Picture: COURTESY OF FLAGSHIP HOUSING

Emma Francis, community manager for Emmaus, at the new homeless accommodation in Ipswich. Picture: COURTESY OF FLAGSHIP HOUSING

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A four-bedroom house in Ipswich has been given an £18,000 make-over to give rough sleepers a “lifeline” place to live - just as homelessness is expected to soar because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Homelessness charity Emmaus is managing the new property in a street off Norwich Road, where tenants will not only be given the keys to their own home but also personalised coaching to help them get back on their feet.

Flagship Group, which is leasing the property to Emmaus at a reduced rate, has renovated the property with a new kitchen, bathroom, shower room and carpets, as well as a lick of paint - thanks to £18,000 worth of donations through RFT, its repairs and maintenance arm.

MORE: Ipswich braced for dramatic rise in homelessness this winter from aftershock of coronavirus

Marie-Claire Delbrouque, managing director of Suffolk Housing Society, said: “This home - now more than ever - will provide a vital lifeline for people.

“Emmaus Suffolk are an incredible charity and one that we’re very proud to work with.

“The house in Ipswich will allow them to help so many people in urgent need to get their lives back on track.

“I am so grateful for all the efforts of our RFT team who have worked extremely hard to carry out these upgrades, in such difficult circumstances.”

Claire Staddon, chief executive of Emmaus Suffolk, said: “Working with Flagship has enabled us to deliver on our strategic objectives, despite the unprecedented challenges we are all facing.

“Our supported housing offer will provide personalised coaching and support for tenants to both maintain this accommodation and where suitable, prepare them for a successful and planned move into fully independent accommodation.

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“The benefits to tenants would be measured in terms of improving their housing options, achieving progress towards work and developing life skills to enable greater resilience against reverting to homelessness.

“In addition to these direct impacts, this also frees up temporary and emergency places for the rising number of rough sleepers across the county - offering a long-term solution to some of the most vulnerable in the county.

“As a tenant, you will have more than a roof. You will have a home.”

MORE: Homeless people given keys to Ipswich house to stop them sleeping rough or sofa-surfing

Aaron, whose surname we have been asked not to use, has become the first tenant at the property.

“I have already met and worked with some amazing and supportive people since joining Emmaus,” he said.

“I feel happy and positive about making a future for myself.”

Flagship Group has also launched its own charity, Hopestead, which aims to prevent, reduce and alleviate homelessness in East Anglian by working with other charities and local authorities.

Ipswich is already braced for a stark rise in homelessness this winter.

Ipswich Borough Council block-booked hotels to put a roof over rough sleepers’ heads during the coronavirus lockdown.

However Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG) - which runs the Chapman Centre for homeless people – said: “With a financial crisis already underway, it is highly likely the numbers of people seeking our support will increase dramatically.”


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