New 'microhomes' for rough sleepers in Ipswich to be unveiled

CGI designs of homeless pods

The microhomes will be used by residents for up to two years - Credit: Centred Architecture

New "microhomes" to help take rough sleepers off the streets of Ipswich are set to be unveiled in a radical bid to tackle homelessness in the town.

Ipswich Borough Council has created eight of the new units in Whitton Church Lane for the sole use of local single people, who have been living in emergency and similar accommodation in the town.

Each one has a sleeping area, kitchen and living room, together with a shower and toilet - giving people the crucial independence of having somewhere they can call home. 

The units are also fitted with white goods and other essential items such as cutlery, plates and bed linen.

It will be opened by Ipswich mayor Elizabeth Hughes tomorrow, along with Whitton ward councillors and Neil MacDonald, Ipswich council's portfolio holder for housing and health.

The road is being called Armitage Place, with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage donating books to be handed out to the microhomes' new residents.

ipswich homeless modular units

Ipswich Borough Council housing portfolio holder Neil Macdonald an Whitton councillor Christine Shaw at the new modular units in Ipswich - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

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Mr MacDonald said: "This carefully designed housing is a stepping stone to a permanent home for formerly homeless people.

"It provides them with a safe space where they can receive dedicated support that will help them develop the skills they need to get in to work and to live independently.

"We look forward to welcoming tenants and helping them get started on their journeys.”

Each tenant will stay in a microhome for a maximum of two years.

They will be allocated a support worker, who will provide intensive support to help them prepare for a return to work and fully independent living.

Police will help to decide whether tenants at the microhomes are suitable to be housed there.

Live CCTV will be monitored at Ipswich council’s control room, while on-call security will be able to attend 24/7 when requested.

There will also be unannounced visits by security patrols. 

In recent years, Ipswich has been one of the few towns in the UK the pilot the "Housing First" scheme - which works on the principle that homeless people are given a home that is theirs, with no strings attached - regardless of their history or addiction problems.

It has been credited with keeping people off the streets of Ipswich and saving the taxpayer money in the long-term.

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