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Local firms join forces for homelessness initiative

Posted on Mar 31, 2020 by Cambridge Catalyst

With the financial help and expertise of Cambridge businesses, Allia is leading an innovative project to create a series of modular units that will become supported homes for the homeless in the city. A partnership with local homeless charity Jimmy’s, the project will provide six high-quality units, each featuring a fitted kitchen, living space, bathroom, washing machine and separate bedroom.

These micro homes, which will initially take up residence on the grassy lawn adjacent to the Christ the Redeemer Church (Newmarket Road), have been specifically designed to be used on temporary sites available at low or no cost, and will be relocated to another such site within the three-year period of the planning consent. This approach enables the future project costs to be kept affordable. Residents of the units will benefit from private accommodation available for as long as they need it, and be given intensive personalised support on site. When the units move to another location in the city, residents have the choice of continuing to live in their homes or moving on to more permanent types of accommodation.

“For some homeless individuals, the hostel system and short-term, move-on accommodation in Cambridge doesn’t always work,” explains Martin Clark, CEO of Allia Impact. “We want to provide something that’s a little bit different, that gives more stability for a year or two, so that they can put down some roots.
They will receive intensive support from Jimmy’s, the Cambridge homelessness charity, and this, together with a private home, will hopefully stabilise their lives. It’s about breaking the cycle of homelessness for people who are in the system but aren’t getting a good outcome from it.”

The project has only been possible thanks to donations from organisations such as Hill and Howard Group, as well as the professional services provided on a pro bono basis by companies including Barr Ellison. “This is about supporting those most in need in our community,” says Barr Ellison property planner Elizabeth Deyong. “We have a long relationship with Allia and admire the work they do. This pioneering approach to extricating people from homelessness and poverty will make a real difference to our community.”

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