A specially designed hub to help homeless people on their path towards settled housing is taking shape in Truro.
The landmark ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ was given planning permission earlier this year and since then work has been carried out at pace to convert Chough House, in River Street, into a new facility that will play a key role in meeting the critical need for homeless accommodation for those who have been sleeping rough or are at risk of doing so in Cornwall.
The building is a Council-owned former office, which has stood empty for some time. 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.
There will also be communal lounges and kitchens, which at times of urgent need could be converted into extra emergency bed spaces, as well as laundry facilities, meeting rooms and management space for staff to provide support and security 24/7.
Olly Monk, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Planning, said: “We have made it clear that we want to provide safe and secure places to stay for those in urgent need, ending the use of short-term hotel and B&B accommodation.
“The regenerated Chough House is a fantastic scheme which will play a key role in reducing homelessness in Cornwall.
“This, along with our other initiatives such as the temporary cabin schemes and our landmark new modular housing scheme in Pool, all show the huge lengths to which we are going to fundamentally change the position we find ourselves in and help the most vulnerable in our society.
“I am hugely proud of it and grateful to the officers that have worked so hard to bring this vacant building back into such a meaningful use for our community.
“We are also thankful for the support of Truro City Council, the local members that have supported the project and other community stakeholders that have had a role in bringing this forward.”
The building will have a new efficient air-source heating plant providing heating and hot water and provision has been made for the future installation of solar panels on the roof.
There was a Congregational Chapel on the site from the mid-18th century, which was rebuilt in 1853 to include a large school room. The chapel and school room were sold in 1932 and used as council offices until the 1970s/80s, before demolition took place and the current building was erected.
Chough House appears to sit neatly on the footprint of the school room, and it is possible that it incorporates fabric from the earlier structure.
A small section of stone wall attached to the corner of Chough House, stepping down to ground level and containing a pointed archway, remains.
The new facility will open in early 2022.
The Council is working to address housing pressures in a variety of ways, including the purchase and refurbishment of disused properties.
The Council also continues to work to:
- Buy homes for social housing
- Build more Council houses
- Support the provision of more affordable homes by housing associations for local people to rent or buy
- Ensure sites deliver affordable housing through the planning process
- Unlock the potential for town centres to be regenerated to provide more housing
- Support community-led organisations that want to deliver their own homes
- Offer loans to bring empty homes back into use
Story posted on October 18, 2021