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Tag Archive: meanwhile housing

  1. Children without homes

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    It’s estimated that around 400,000 people are homeless or at risk of going homeless in England. Sadly, a large proportion of those are children without homes. According to a report launched by Shelter, 135,000 children are homeless or living in temporary accommodation. The highest number in 12 years. 

    Emergency accommodation

    This report shines a light on the 5,683 homeless families with children currently living in emergency B&Bs and hostels. Arguably the worst type of accommodation. Here, families tend to live in one room with hardly any space to play, cook or eat meals. Sometimes they’re even forced to share a bathroom with strangers. This accommodation, as they’re placed there in an emergency, is often located far from schools, jobs and loved ones too. This unfortunately means that these children often suffer in school. Not only do they struggle to actually get to school, they can end up falling behind the rest of their classmates. 

    Around 1.5 million children were forecast to fall into poverty between 2010 and 2021, according to Shelter UK who dubbed it a ‘national disgrace’. And that was before the world was plunged into a global pandemic. With the furlough scheme due to end and a significant number of redundancies being forecast, numbers are only set to rise. 

    How can we get children into a safe home?

    We know that we’ve been in a housing crisis for some time, and that we need a lot more homes than we are building. But the solution isn’t just to ‘build more homes’. They need to be safe, secure, accessible and affordable. Families need to be able to live and still be able to put food on the table. 

    The right home environment is essential for our health and mental wellbeing. Meeting National Space Standards, our homes provide families with ample space. Children are able to spend time together whilst also having the space to be able to have some time to themselves to complete homework or just take some time out. We also build with placemaking in mind. Actively encouraging communities to grow and thrive so families and children are able to socialise helping to combat loneliness.

    New homes also need to be fit for the future. Our bespoke, affordable and accessible family modular homes come with a lifetime guarantee of 60 years and are built to meet future demand. Our bespoke service means that we’re flexible enough to work closely with our clients to design and build the homes that they want and need. So not every home will look the same and can also meet different needs, for different people. Lots of homes across the country aren’t suitable. We need to be building homes that last and that families can grow old in. 

    We can help councils and local authorities meet the immediate housing needs across the UK. If children have somewhere safe to call their home, they have the space to do homework and play that isn’t also the same place that they have to eat and wash. Enabling them to thrive at school and later in life.

    Find out how we can help get children without homes into safe, affordable ones by reaching out.

  2. Shipping container homes versus meanwhile housing

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    Now it’s no secret that we’re in a housing crisis and the numbers of those sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness are rising. There have been two main solutions pushed – shipping container homes and meanwhile housing. But what’s the best solution?

    Shipping Container Homes

    Innovative plans have been submitted to Manchester City Council to transform shipping containers into new temporary homes for rough-sleepers. Homeless charity, Embassy, plans to build 40 modular homes forming a new village on a derelict city centre site. This scheme is set to help vulnerable people get back on their feet by giving them a roof over their head, extra support and life-skills. Their long-term plan is to help residents find full-time work. Eventually moving on to more permanent homes. 

    The Embassy Village, if approved, will be built on a derelict site below the railway arches between the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell. It would also include a village hall and a communal outdoor space for sport, socialising and other activities like gardening. Any potential residents will be ‘triaged’ identifying those willing to take up the opportunities of training, housing and routes into work. A lot of homeless people spend years going from shelter to shelter waiting for something more permanent and often don’t get help or support.

    Shipping containers are durable, eco-friendly and save on costs. They’ve also helped councils across England solve immediate housing issues. A report from the Children’s Commissioner for England has found that this is an increasingly popular way to provide emergency housing. But it also found that a lot of these homes weren’t designed with children in mind. 

    For families, the size of these homes is an issue. They’re only temporary but for some it has felt like a prison because of overcrowding. There is barely enough space to live let alone have any sort of privacy. Noise also travels across the containers too. So if they’re stacked above one another, people are kept awake. The poor design also means that some of these containers are blisteringly hot in summer and freezing in winter. Making it difficult for people to feel comfortable.

    ‘Meanwhile Housing’

     ‘Meanwhile housing’ is where temporary housing is built on vacant land until it’s needed for other purposes. It’s actively encouraged to help move families out of poor temporary housing and into more affordable, beautiful looking homes. We build these homes offsite, and make sure that they’re suitable for both temporary and lifetime living. 

    Unlike the criticised shipping container homes, these homes all meet National Space Standards. Our high-quality meanwhile homes maximise space with fitted furniture and appliances. While providing bright, open spaces for people to live in. They also create a well insulated living environment, helping to regulate the temperatures so people aren’t left sweltering in summer and freezing in winter. 

    Our ‘meanwhile home’ offering is also energy efficient. Not only saving residents money on annual energy bills but also providing good acoustic performance with minimal noise transfer. We’re also able to provide ample green space for people to get outside, socialise or just get some fresh air. 

    What’s the best option?

    Well it’s not a tough call. Shipping containers may have been fine as a temporary measure but our ‘meanwhile housing’ offering definitely beats it in terms of design. We want to make sure that even though people are only in the home for a short time, they’re comfortable and improve wellbeing. This has been taken up by several councils across England and we hope to work with more and provide a more suitable solution for the homelessness and housing crises. 

  3. Meanwhile homes – a fresh solution for the housing crisis?

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    The idea of ‘meanwhile homes’ as a solution to the housing crisis is refreshing. It brings together some of the biggest topics in housing – sustainability, micro living and modular housing. 

    But what does it mean?

    ‘Meanwhile housing’ is where temporary housing is built on vacant land until it’s needed for other purposes. It’s actively encouraged to help move families out of unsuitable and poor temporary housing and into a more affordable, beautiful looking home. 

    The UK’s first ‘pop up’ village was built on vacant land in Southeast London in 2016 to successfully house families who were forced to live in B&B’s until more permanent homes were sourced. With rent and property prices skyrocketing and housing waiting lists growing longer and longer, councils and local authorities are under pressure to find a solution.  

    How can it help the housing crisis?

    Temporary accommodation is supposed to be temporary. But families are reporting that they’re left there for weeks, sometimes months, while more permanent homes are secured and this accommodation isn’t always in good condition. It can take anywhere up to three months for councils and local authorities to make a decision as they’re often really busy with thousands of families and not enough homes to house them all. According to Shelter UK, tenants can ask their Temporary Housing Officer for alternative accommodation if they believe it’s unsuitable, if it’s unaffordable, overcrowded or in poor condition. But with thousands of families needing help and sitting on the waiting list, it’s not always easy to get. 

    In Scotland, families can only stay in a B&B for seven days. A limit on temporary accommodation stays would change people’s lives. But new, affordable and suitable housing would be even better. Traditionally built developments can take anywhere between three and five years to be built and people are still slow to take to modular housing. We need an immediate solution.

    With planning known to be a notoriously long and difficult process, ‘meanwhile housing’ can provide a temporary solution. It also means that the land isn’t sitting vacant for years. While the planning process is in motion and the land is left unused, families can live in nicer housing while they wait for more permanent homes and stay out of B&Bs.  

    Thurston’s modular solution

    In 2019 we worked with Hugg Homes and Broxbourne Council to deliver 32 temporary homes to help support local, lower income families. The ‘pop-up’ homes were put in place to relieve housing issues in the area, getting families off waiting lists and into homes. Rather than having dormant land lying empty for years while developers work on their long-term plans, it provides an immediate high-quality, affordable housing solution. 

    When you think ‘pop-up’ home, you may not think of quality. But think again. Our high-quality modular homes for Hugg Homes maximise space with fitted furniture and appliances. Creating an efficient and well insulated living environment. With sustainability in mind, the homes are energy-efficient and provide good acoustic performance with minimal noise transfer. They’re also situated in a landscaped courtyard with ample green, play and leisure spaces.

    The land in Chestnut is part of a much bigger regeneration project and planning application that would otherwise have been vacant for a number of years. Eventually the area will provide housing, business units and a local centre including a primary school and landscaped public areas. But for now, it’s providing a much needed, immediate solution for the area’s housing issues.

    Do you think your local area could benefit from ‘meanwhile housing’? We can provide an immediate solution. Find out how by getting in touch with us.