Work begins on emergency housing at New County Hall

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Work has begun on a new emergency housing scheme at New County Hall in Truro.

In June, Cornwall Council announced plans to end the use of hotels and other short-term accommodation to house those in urgent need of somewhere to stay.

Work has now begun ahead of the installation of around 18 ‘Bunkabin’ units at the Council’s Truro headquarters.

The Bunkabins have been delivered to the site ready to be installed

The cabins have been delivered to the site ready to be installed

The cabins are self-contained, single-berth accommodation with basic cooking and shower facilities and will build upon the success of the award-winning schemes delivered by the Council at Carrick Cabins in Truro and Long Rock, Penzance, at the height of the pandemic.

The interior of the cabin

The temporary scheme at New County Hall is the first site to get under way, with other sites set to follow soon.

The first cabins have been delivered to the site and work has started to prepare the area, including demolishing some old portable buildings, before installing the units later in August.

The Bunkabins have been delivered to the site ready to be installed

Olly Monk, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, said: “It is great to see the start of our plans to address this issue.

“Our temporary Bunkabin schemes have been a huge success during the pandemic at Truro and Penzance. They ensure that we have direct access to safe, reliable accommodation for vulnerable people, rather than having to use hotels and B&Bs, where people can be asked to leave at short notice.

“Although only temporary, the work that goes in to delivering these sites is extraordinary – they require huge amounts of co-ordinated work between our in-house Delivery Team, our construction partners, Cormac, and Cornwall Housing, which will manage the sites once built.

“We have made a commitment to doing all we can to solve this current housing problem. Temporary sites like this are really important as they give us space to implement more long-term solutions such as our landmark new Somewhere Safe to Stay hub that we’re currently building at Chough House in Truro.

“We are going to provide as many affordable homes to rent and buy, and homes for social rent – Council houses – as possible, as well as working with our existing housing partners to accelerate this.”

As with the existing sites, Cornwall Housing will manage the New County Hall accommodation. There will be a 24/7 on-site security and residents will have full support to help them on their journey to long-term settled accommodation.

These latest moves are on top of the existing temporary accommodation currently used by the Council, which is also in the process of buying and refurbishing more than 100 homes, primarily for families, to provide medium-term temporary accommodation.

It currently costs the Council around £6million a year to house those in need of emergency and temporary accommodation – and this could rise to £10million this year. The costs of these new interventions will be met by the existing budget, diverted instead to this more sustainable way of helping those in need.

Around 1,000 people – from single-person households to families – are currently in temporary or emergency accommodation in Cornwall.

Story posted on July 28, 2021

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