8 new prefab homes to be built for Ipswich rough sleepers

There are fears places like Ipswich will see a rise in homelessness this winter, following the coron

Former rough sleepers in Ipswich will be given support to move into 'moving-on' homes as a step towards their own properties - Credit: Archant

Eight new temporary homes are to be established in Ipswich this spring to help give former rough sleepers a step up towards their own homes.

Ipswich Borough Council has secured £310,000 of government funding from the Homes England scheme, which will go towards the £600,000 project for eight prefabricated modular homes to be built in The Drift.

They will be occupied by former rough sleepers for up to two years to help them settle into life as tenants, boosted by a dedicated support worker to help them.

It aims to act as a means to help them move on to then renting their own home.

The grant requires the project to be completed by the end of March, and planning permission must be approved by then.

However, the council said that the planning application will be decided by the planning committee in February and, as they are prefab units, they can be constructed easily.

They can also be moved to a new location if needed in future, and have a life of around 70 years.

Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for housing and health, has pledged that the authority and...

Ipswich Borough Council Labour portfolio holder for housing, Neil MacDonald said it would give former rough sleepers a front door - Credit: Archant

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Ipswich council's Labour portfolio holder for housing, Neil MacDonald, said: "For most rough sleepers they will need help moving to a permanent home.

"One used quite widely is 'moving-on' accommodation to get people established in their new home.

"It will not be a final home - it's a home to allow them to get their head round being a tenant and they will be moved in to a permanent accommodation within two years.

"It gives people somewhere to live, their own front door and their responsibility for that front door."

The council said the £310,000 grant was the maximum available because demand for the scheme nationally, launched last summer, was so high.

The authority proposes to borrow the remaining funds needed and a payment plan will be put in place. 

Rental income from the units will be used to fund a support worker for those tenants to help them.

Ipswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher felt a decision on savings should be taken when the pandemic was not...

Conservative group leader at Ipswich Borough Council, Ian Fisher, said it was a welcome scheme - Credit: Archant

Data from Mr MacDonald indicated that there were currently up to five rough sleepers per night in Ipswich - down from the 20-25 four years ago.

However, figures for this year indicated there had been 79 individuals logged at some point in the last 12 months as new rough sleepers.

Conservative group leader at the council, Ian Fisher, said: "This looks like excellent news - modular housing is always good and something new for us."

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