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15th Mar 2023
Elm Road Thetford handover 1 sm

Five newly-built homes in Thetford which will be used to house former rough sleepers in Breckland and help them take the next steps into long term accommodation, have been handed over.  

It is the culmination of a £2.9 million partnership project between Broadland Housing Association and Breckland Council which is designed to tackle homelessness in the district.

Cllr Paul Claussen, executive member for economic development and growth at Breckland Council, and Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing Association, were given the keys to the new homes at a ceremony to mark the end of the eight month construction project.

Breckland Council gifted the land, a former car park on Elm Road in the town, while Broadland Housing developed the new homes.  Combined with capital from Broadland Housing, Breckland Council, grant funding has come from Homes England via the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme.

The five one-bedroom homes – four houses and one bungalow – have been built with a timber frame design for speed of construction and to ensure low embodied carbon.  The new homes, which were constructed by local firm H Smith of Honingham, are energy-efficient, with air source heat pumps.

The five residents of the new homes had all previously been sleeping rough, with one of them having done so for four years.  Prior to moving into the new homes in Thetford, they have been living in Breckland Council’s supported accommodation, where they have been supported by Solo Housing working on becoming ready for a tenancy.  That support will continue as they take on their own tenancies, with the aim of them eventually moving on from these homes into long term rental tenancies.

Cllr Claussen commented: “By working in partnership on this project we have been able to lever in national funding to help deliver high quality, low carbon housing for some of the district’s most vulnerable residents.  

“These properties will not only support former rough sleepers to access housing locally, but it will also help them rebuild their lives and become independent again.  We want to end rough sleeping for good and through innovative programmes like this we’re on track to ensure no-one is forced to spend a night on the streets or isolated in our community.”

Mr Newey added, “This project is a great example of what can be achieved when organisations such as Breckland Council and Broadland Housing work together in partnership to tackle the problem of homelessness. 

“Both Breckland and Broadland Housing are members of the Norfolk Strategic Housing Alliance and this is a great example of when partners - including the support provider - work together to help end homelessness in Norfolk.

“These much-needed energy-efficient homes have been built to the high quality standards we have for all our homes.  By bringing back into use a piece of surplus land, we can ensure that more people leave the streets and can have a home to call their own.