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Building group provides modular solution to homelessness

05 July 2021


Solohaus exterior

Solohaus exterior

THREE organisations have formed a partnership designed to help homeless single people get back on track.

The Salvation Army, the community support group Citizens UK, and the house builders Hill Group will combine their capabilities in the SHC Partnership to support community-led accommodation projects.

Part of this work will be the allocation, over the next five years, of more than half of a batch of 200 modular homes, valued at £12 million and donated by the Hill Group for community projects.

SOLOHAUSBird’s eye view of Solohaus interior. Another image in the gallery

Each home, called a SoloHaus, comes completely furnished and ready to occupy. These are small, self-contained buildings designed to Future Homes Standards, exceeding building regulations for energy efficiency and sound insulation, and with a design life of 60 years. Running costs are said to be under £5 a week.

The Salvation Army and Citizens UK are already partners in Malachi Place, in Ilford, Essex, a modular community project for single homeless people. The initiative, which was started by ten-year old Malachi Justin when he donated his tooth-fairy money to the Salvation Army, has provided homes for more than 56 people since it opened in March last year.

Lt Colonel Drew McCombe of the Salvation Army said: “We have well-designed modular homes ready to be installed, nationwide expertise in providing support to people experiencing homelessness, and projects already in the pipeline. Modular housing like Malachi Place is a more cost-effective and better-quality alternative to temporary accommodation.

“We need the Government and local authorities to give planning permission for modular housing, especially as ministers have missed their target for providing homes for people who experienced rough sleeping in March 2020.”

SALVATION ARMYLeft to right: Captain John Clifton, the Revd Anthony Ball, Emmanuel Gotora, Stephen Serrant, Andy Hill, Lt Colonel Drew McCombe, Tom Hill, Eddie Hughes MP, the Revd Dr James Hawkey

SHC Partnership is already working on projects in Southend, Basildon, and Bristol, and has identified a large-scale demand for the homes. The Hill Group’s chief executive, Andy Hill, said: “Working with the Salvation Army and Citizens UK means that our SoloHaus modular homes can make a real tangible difference to homeless people nationwide, and has added amazing firepower to our Foundation 200 programme to gift 200 homes.”

The executive director of Citizens UK, Matthew Bolton, said: “Our experience at Malachi Place was the starting point for our partnership with the Salvation Army, with an ambition to scale up modular housing for people experiencing homelessness.

“Creating a more humane housing and welfare system has been a long-term priority for Citizens UK, and we have been actively bringing together politicians, policy makers, and community leaders to tackle what we view as nothing short of a crisis.”

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