A new home providing accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness has opened in Ipswich – and it has already welcomed its first tenant.
The four-bedroom house, owned by Flagship Group, is managed by homelessness charity Emmaus Suffolk as a ‘community’ – the name the organisation gives to its residential sites.
And its first tenant – or ‘companion’ – has already been housed in the property, having been previously street homeless in Ipswich.
The new home has been made possible thanks to support from Flagship, including thousands of pounds worth of renovation works carried out by RFT, the repairs and maintenance arm of Flagship Group.
As part of its strategy of supporting charitable and community good causes, RFT has donated £18k worth of improvements to the house to bring it up to standard, including a new kitchen, a new bathroom and shower room, and full decoration throughout. The property has also benefited from new carpets, courtesy of Archway Carpets of Woodbridge.
And, the property has been leased by Flagship Group to the charity at a reduced rate, significantly lower than the market rate.
Emmaus is a charity that provides homes and meaningful work for people who have experienced homelessness. Chief Executive of Emmaus Suffolk Claire Staddon said: “Working with Flagship has enabled us to deliver on our strategic objectives despite the unprecedented challenges we are all facing.
“Our supported housing offer will provide personalised coaching and support for tenants to both maintain this accommodation and where suitable, prepare them for a successful and planned move into fully independent accommodation.
“The benefits to tenants would be measured in terms of improving their housing options, achieving progress towards work, and developing life skills to enable greater resilience against reverting to homelessness.
“In addition to these direct impacts, this also frees up temporary and emergency places for the rising number of rough sleepers across the county, offering a long term solution to some of the most vulnerable in the county. As a tenant you will have more than a roof you will have a home.”
The Cromer Road community’s first companion Aaron is looking ahead to the future. He said: “I have already met and worked with some amazing and supportive people since joining Emmaus. I feel happy and positive about making a future for myself.”
Work on the property began earlier in the year and was completed in just before lockdown as Emmaus, RFT, and Archway Carpets worked together tirelessly to complete and open the home as quickly as possible in the current challenging circumstances.
Managing Director of Hopestead (Flagship’s charity committed to ending homelessness in the East of England), Marie-Claire Delbrouque said: “Emmaus Suffolk are an incredible charity and one that we’re very proud to work with. The house in Ipswich will allow them to help so many people in urgent need to get their lives back on track.
“I am so grateful for all the efforts of our RFT team who have worked extremely hard to carry out these upgrades, in such difficult circumstances.
“This home – now more than ever – will provide a vital lifeline for people and I am so pleased that we could be part of this fantastic project.”
Marie-Claire’s comments were echoed by Darrell Smith, Proprietor of Archway Carpets who said: “We love working with and supporting local charities that make such a great difference to our local communities.”
RFT’s support for the new Emmaus community on Cromer Road comes shortly after Flagship Group underlined its commitment to ending homelessness in the East of England with the launch of its new Hopestead charity. By working in partnership with local authorities, charities, and social enterprises, Hopestead aims to prevent, reduce and alleviate homelessness, help to build sustainable communities, and ensure everyone has a place to call home.