Council approves 'pod' plan to house rough sleepers

The prototype ‘pod’ homes for the homeless which are set to be rolled out across Cambridge. Picture:

An example of a modular home, a similar sort of which could be heading to Great Yarmouth to provide transitional homes for rough sleepers - Credit: Ben Hatton/LDRS

Councillors in Great Yarmouth have voted unanimously in favour of creating 12 new homes to house rough sleepers in the borough for up to two years. 

Six of those homes will be new-build modular 'pods', delivered complete with fixtures, fittings, and furniture.

The prototype ‘pod’ homes for the homeless which are set to be rolled out across Cambridge. Picture:

An example of a modular home, a similar sort of which could be heading to Great Yarmouth to provide transitional homes for rough sleepers - Credit: Ben Hatton/LDRS

Measuring just 24sqm each, the council says that whilst they are “small”, they will still provide "a safe and practical home" for single rough sleepers - or those at risk of rough sleeping. 

No sites have yet been identified for the modules, but underused car parks are being considered.

The prototype ‘pod’ homes for the homeless which are set to be rolled out across Cambridge. Picture:

An example of a modular home, a similar sort of which could be heading to Great Yarmouth to provide transitional homes for rough sleepers - Credit: Ben Hatton/LDRS

The remaining six homes will be created by converting a house in multiple occupation (HMO) to form two buildings, each containing two one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom house. 

The two-bedroom properties will be available “to meet the needs of rough sleepers who want to share or who are an adult family” - but when not needed by two-person households, single people have the property to themselves. 

People staying in the accommodation will be charged a weekly rent, capped at £92 per week. 

The approval for the project was given at Thursday's council meeting, at which Labour councillor Michael Jeal said he was “totally in favour of this”.

Michael Jeal has been appointed mayor of the Great Yarmouth borough for 2019/20. Picture: Great Yarm

Labour councillor Michael Jeal - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

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“But I can please ask the council to make sure that if they do put homeless people in accommodation, they don’t make them pay the top fee, because some of them just can’t afford it," he said.

"The whole point of this is to get them off the streets, and into somewhere proper."

A dedicated support worker will be on hand to help the residents, but independent councillor Adrian Myers warned that one of the most important forms of support had to be ensuring residents were not being “set up to fail”. 

Great Yarmouth Borough Council Elections 2014.
Votes being counted in the Town Hall.
Adrian Myers,

Independent councillor Adrian Myers - Credit: James Bass

He said: “People who have been living on the streets are not used to budgeting and are not used to the financial pressures of running a home - and I’m just wondering what type of support mechanism is going to be put in to ensure that we’re not setting these people up to fail?” 

Conservative councillor Emma Flaxman-Taylor, who had presented a report on the project, assured Mr Myers: “We will be making sure that there will be plenty of support.

“We’ll be working with our partners to make sure that we’ll be on top of it and they get all the help that they need.”