Cornwall Council is set to begin work on a new site in Truro to help rough sleepers by giving them a safe place to stay and support them on the path to a settled home.
Planning permission has been granted to convert Chough House, in River Street, Truro into a brand new, purpose-designed Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub. It will play a key role in the Council’s homelessness strategy to reduce the number people rough sleeping in Cornwall.
The building is a Council-owned former office building, which has been empty for some time. Work is set to begin in April on converting the building which will provide people who find themselves without a home or at risk of street homelessness, with a safe place to stay. There will be intensive support to help people on a pathway back to settled housing.
The new scheme builds on the success of the temporary facility in the car park of Carrick House, known by the residents as ‘Carrick Cabins’, which were built in response to the Covid-19 situation.
Once completed, Chough House will include nine single-occupancy rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and kitchenette. One of the rooms will be fully wheelchair-accessible.
The site will also contain staff offices and communal lounges with full kitchens, which at times of urgent need could be converted into extra bed spaces.
There will also be laundry facilities and meeting rooms.
It will be staffed 24/7 by Cornwall Housing or security personnel, with CCTV in and around the building.
The building will have a new efficient air-source heating plant providing heating and hot water and has made provision for the future installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof.
The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Homes, Andrew Mitchell, said: “This is a really important development in our strategy to help those without a home or at risk of being without a home.
“When completed the facility will provide emergency accommodation to anyone who is in need.
“I’m pleased to see that work will be starting soon and I look forward to it opening later this year, and my thanks go to all those that have worked so hard to make this happen. We are also very grateful to Truro City Council, and Truro Mayor and Ward Member, Councillor Bert Biscoe for all their support for this landmark project.”
Local member for Truro Boscawen, Bert Biscoe, said: “The approach, which has evolved from the Covid emergency of providing individual accommodation and one-to-one support, has achieved significant changes in our approach to helping people escape homelessness.
“I very much welcome the repurposing of Chough House where, with the same intensity of staff support, I think we can help people out of perilous circumstances effectively.
“It is important that we develop an approach which supports both homeless people and neighbourhood business. This is a very positive long-term move.”
Work will begin in late April, with a completion date expected in late November 2021.