Pods for homeless with bed and chemical toilet to help get rough sleepers off the street

The proposed Chelpods
-Credit: (Image: CCP)

A pod for homeless people complete with a bed, chemical toilet and a USB charging point could be installed in a town centre location to kick start a major project. It would be located in a discreet and accessible site of Cheltenham's lower High Street.

A planning application has been submitted to the borough council for the pod at 340 High Street, which are the offices of Caring Communities and People (CCP). The pod would be placed in a side courtyard and is part of a trial scheme.

A design and access statement, submitted on behalf of CCP from Hoch-Bau Architecture, says the pods are made of a timber frame with a fibreglass covering. They need no connection to the mains.

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It says: "The pod is a pilot for a larger scalable scheme, providing a short-term system of accommodating Cheltenham homeless for whom hostels and other strategies do not provide the right solution for their needs. The pod will provide safety, privacy, dignity and an address along with support services such as mental health, employment, education and the like."

In supporting documents, CCP says the pilot pod is aimed at entrenched rough sleepers. It aims to provide them dignity, safety and privacy in a single-person habitable semi-portable home.

Outside and inside the pods
Outside and inside the pods -Credit:CCP

It adds: "The Chelpods will be sited in existing community facilities for example, community centres and churches, where existing support groups commune and provide support to their local community. Other wraparound services including mental health support and potential training, employment etc all have a far greater chance of success with the objective of step-up accommodation into a more permanent home as the person is stabilised and given hope, on which the many services in the county, can more effectively build."

A fundraising effort has succeeded to buy and install one pod as proof of concept and to create a replicable approach. Each single pod costs £10,000, or a double costs £19,500. CCP wants to raise a further £5,000 to deliver the initial support required by the individual.

CCP is a charity founded in 1989 that exists to prevent the causes and reduce the impacts of homelessness, family breakdown and exclusion. You can view and comment on the application here.

This story was amended on June 11 as the fund-raising campaign has been a success.