Homeless shelter proposed for Letchworth in Haven First expansion
PUBLISHED: 14:52 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:58 16 July 2020
A Stevenage-based homeless charity is expanding into Letchworth, and residents are invited to have their say on the project.
A new purpose-built Letchworth shelter has been proposed for Pixmore Avenue – at the site next to the Protea Way junction which has been disused and unkept for a number of years.
The recently rebranded Haven First charity works with clients in Stevenage and North Hertfordshire to break the of cycle of homelessness through temporary accommodation and round-the-clock support.
Haven First – formerly known as Stevenage Haven – has proposed an expansion into Letchworth to accommodate up to 40 homeless people in single-bed living premises.
Chief executive Barbara Howard said: “We are very excited to be consulting on the planning permission for a 40-bed site in Letchworth which will be very similar to our 40-bed project in Stevenage.
“The shelter will seek to provide a safe and supportive environment for primarily single homeless people, with the eventual aim of resettling them in their own independent accommodation in the local community.
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“Land agents have identified suitable sites for this type of development over several years, and this particular plot has been unused for many years. The site is well located for access to local facilities and services and to public transport options.”
The new shelter will provide 34 single bedrooms with bathroom facilities, three ‘moving-on units’, and shared kitchen facilities, garden area and lounge/dining spaces.
There will be 24 hour a day on-site support for residents provided by Haven First’s professionally trained staff.
Barbara said that proposals for a new Letchworth site have come amid growing concerns over the state of the existing Haven-owned shelter in Hitchin – formerly known as North Herts Sanctuary.
She added the building is increasingly “unfit for purpose” in terms of the support it can provide, with only 17 beds in dormitory-style bedrooms.
“The limitations of the current building have been exposed further by the coronavirus pandemic as we have had to seek alternative temporary premises,” Barbara said.
It is envisaged the Letchworth development will take approximately 12 months to complete, with work beginning in early 2021 subject to planning permission.
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