Up to 200 ‘pod’ homes with running costs of less than £5 a week are to be built under a £12m project to provide accommodation for homeless people in London.
The units, which come fully furnished with kitchen and bathroom facilities, are all eco-friendly and the scheme was sparked by a 10 year-old boy who donated his tooth fairy money to charities for the homeless.
Malachi Justin’s kindness encouraged others to donate and fund 60 new build pods in Ilford, East London.
Such was the success of that project that the The Salvation Army, Citizens UK and developer Hill Group joined forces to build up to 200 more pods. They cost just under £47,000 to build.
Each home should also last for about sixty years and councils and landowners have been asked to identify “small pockets of land” where the units can be built. The pods are so energy efficient that they only cost an estimated £5 per week to run per week, according to the developers.
To mark the partnership, a pod “SoloHaus” - a home designed for a single person - was unveiled on the grounds of Westminister Abbey on Monday.
The group is now calling on the Government, local authorities, and landowners to join them.
Lieutenant Colonel Drew McCombe, of The Salvation Army, on behalf of the partnership, 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 [site in Ilford] 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.”
The Salvation Army try to accommodate on average 4,000 people who were formally homeless every night across the UK.
Andy Hill, Chief Executive, The Hill Group, 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.
“When the company marked its 20th anniversary in 2019, offering a solution to homelessness was our way of giving something back.
“We have already donated homes to local charities in Cambridge and other committed projects.”
Matthew Bolton, Executive Director, Citizens UK, added: “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 across our local chapters.
“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, policymakers and community leaders to tackle what we view as nothing short of a crisis.
“We hope to build strong support within the Ministry of Housing to ensure that new funding streams will enable local authorities to apply for capital and revenue funding to support our programme and help people rebuild their lives, be valued members of their communities, gain the confidence to find work, and find more permanent accommodation.”