Youth homeless charity Centrepoint has revealed a ‘first look’ at 33 new modular homes built to house young people experiencing homelessness in Peckham.
The Reuben House development is part of the charity’s Independent Living Programme, which seeks to provide 300 young people a home and entry level or apprenticeship roles that lead to full-time employment across London and Manchester.
Hull-based M-AR completed the remote build of 33 individual modular homes, and earlier this week transported the homes on-site, where they will continue linking the homes together and landscaping ahead of a May launch.
Each 21m2 home has a small but functional kitchen, dining area, bathroom, as well as space to sleep and relax.
The homes were delivered to site fully fitted with the kitchen and bathroom, and all electrics and plumbing installed, as well as being fully decorated throughout, enabling Centrepoint to start using the homes much quicker than with a traditional build.
The modular designs offer a cost-effective solution to genuinely affordable living, costing “significantly less” than traditional builds, according to Centrepoint, and reducing construction times by over 50%.
Lack of wider support
One in five young people using Centrepoint’s services are ready to move on but are unable to do so due to a shortage of affordable homes and reductions in local authority benefits.
The Independent Living Programme seeks to tackle the shortage of quality affordable accommodation, free up hostel beds Centrepoint currently provides for those in dire need, and give young people a future of independence.
The Independent Living Programme charges a young person approximately one-third of their salary as rent.
This would typically mean a 20-year old person in London, earning minimum wage (currently £6.56 per hour or £1,050 per month) would pay around £350 per month to live in a self-contained apartment.
However, Centrepoint’s intention is to work with ethical employers to ensure young people are earning above minimum wage, which would typically mean someone in London earning £18,000 per year would pay around £500 per month to live independently.
Sally Orlopp, director of Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme, said: “I’ve been working with disadvantaged people for over 25 years, and this is the most exciting and innovative programme that has tangible results in transforming young people’s lives.
“With the help of M-AR, we have turned 8 units into 33 homes in Peckham, which mean Centrepoint’s young people now have comfortable, stylish, efficient and cost effective homes – and most importantly the key to their very own front door.
“Our Independent Living Programme is tackling the shortage of quality affordable accomodation head-on, and freeing up much-needed hostel beds, and this is only the beginning.
“We have every ambition to create 300 more homes across London and Manchester within the coming year.”
Katelin (pictured), 19, living in one of the programme’s home in East London, said: “Living in the Independent Living accommodation has allowed me to think about my future.
“I can think about the possibility of buying a car, saving for a mortgage, all things that people my age should be allowed to do, regardless of their age and the situation they’re put in.
“I think it’s incredibly important for there to be affordable housing for young people, especially people who have not had the easiest upbringing or the easiest background.
“Everyone has high expectations for people my age and we can’t expect us to reach those expectations without a solid foundation.”
Ryan Geldard, Operations director at M-AR, said: “It’s a privilege for us to be able to do our bit to help Centrepoint in its mission to end youth homelessness by delivering these new safe and secure independent living units.
“We’re working on a turnkey basis on this project so we’re taking care of every aspect of the build programme to make the whole process as smooth as possible for Centrepoint.
“We can’t wait to see how the units look once they’re on site and ready to become homes.”
The Reuben Foundation has provided over £1m in funding to support Reuben House in Peckham.
The Reuben Foundation said: “It is an honour to extend our support for Centrepoint and its Independent Living Programme.
“To see Reuben House come to life is truly amazing; with each development Centrepoint comes closer to reaching their ambition to end youth homelessness for the next generation, and we are so proud to be a part of this journey”.
On 13 November 2019, Centrepoint’s patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge officially opened Centrepoint’s first Independent Living Programme offering, Petterson Haberdashers Apprenticeship House, a residential community for seven young people enrolled in apprenticeship programmes in Lewisham.
Centrepoint says the programme is rapidly expanding and that it is in talks with councils in Barnet, Hounslow, Waltham Forest, and Manchester.