Agreement with St Basils to provide affordable rented homes for young people


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In Summary

General | 24th February 2022
Sandwell Council’s cabinet has approved a report proposing to work in partnership with the charity St Basils to provide new, affordable rented apartments for young people from Sandwell.

In Detail

Sandwell Council’s cabinet has approved a report proposing to work in partnership with the charity St Basils to provide new, affordable rented apartments for young people from Sandwell.

The deal with St Basils, a registered provider of social housing, will enable the charity to manage and maintain three low-rise blocks in West Bromwich.

Cabinet’s approval also included a capital contribution of £666,734 towards the refurbishment of the properties to decent homes standard, bringing the 54 self-contained one-bedroom affordable rented apartments into use for young people. The ground-breaking scheme will enable young people who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness to have truly affordable accommodation which enables them to secure and sustain employment, therefore helping to prevent and relieve homelessness affecting young people in Sandwell.

The three blocks are owned by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust who have partnered with St Basils. The blocks were previously used as accommodation for NHS staff but now need major refurbishment.

The scheme would provide priority access for referrals from Sandwell Council for a period of some 30 years.

Jean Templeton, Chief Executive of St Basils, said: “Providing a safe, affordable home which enables young people to live, work, earn and learn is what we want for all those we care about. This scheme and the partners who will make this possible, including Sandwell Council, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Homes England, Landaid and all of their Midlands Members, and our development partner Equans, illustrates what can be achieved when we come together and use our collective will, skill, and resources.”

Councillor Zahoor Ahmed, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “There is a significant need for suitable accommodation for single young people in Sandwell, with demand for homelessness support and housing exceeding the supply of affordable accommodation.

“So, the link between truly affordable housing and employment has never been more important for young people.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with St Basils to provide a stable home for young people who would not otherwise be able to afford their own home and sustain their employment while living independently.”

The scheme is the second phase of an award-winning project. The ground-breaking phase one of the development opened in 2015 with 32 apartments: eight student-type shared four-bedroom flats for 32 young people at risk of homelessness.

Phase one has won two national housing awards and is recognised across the country as being a unique concept, with rents deflated below benefit triggers. This means young people can live and work, including taking up apprenticeships, and be benefit-free.

Since its inception, some 120 young people have lived in the scheme, and none have suffered repeat homelessness.