A not-for-profit company set up by a group of London boroughs to provide high-quality accommodation for homeless Londoners has unveiled the manufacturer chosen to supply modular housing for the scheme.
Following a competitive procurement process, PLACE (Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise) Ltd has selected Extraspace Solutions, a leading provider of modular homes across a range of sectors in the UK and Ireland.
Extraspace Solutions will design and manufacture PLACE’s modular housing units, which will have the quality of permanent housing have the additional benefit that they can be relocated to a different site when required. London boroughs will use the units as temporary accommodation for homeless families.
The value of the contract is around £40m and will see Extraspace Solutions supply 200 homes by 2021.
PLACE, which was established by the boroughs with £11m of funding from the Mayor of London, is a collaborative venture aiming to improve the availability of high-quality temporary accommodation options in the capital. It was set up in response to growing rates of homelessness in the capital, where there are currently 54,000 households living in temporary accommodation.
PLACE’s modular housing units will be placed on vacant ‘meanwhile’ sites earmarked for development in the long term, but which would otherwise remain underused over the short-to-medium term.
Developed by the London Housing Directors’ Group and supported by the umbrella body London Councils, PLACE is hosted by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Several boroughs are looking into suitable locations for PLACE accommodation and it is expected that the first site will be confirmed later this year.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive member for Housing and Planning, said: “PLACE is an exciting new collaboration designed to secure more and better accommodation for homeless Londoners.
“The capital faces a worsening housing crisis. In response, the boroughs are joining forces to procure modular housing to use as temporary accommodation. PLACE will deliver high-quality, family-sized accommodation for homeless Londoners in their local borough — close to their schools, jobs, and support networks — and delivering new housing on previously unusable sites in the process.
“This is the first time UK local authorities have jointly procured modular housing for this purpose and it shows London government’s determination to create better housing outcomes for homeless families.”
Mark Baigent, PLACE Ltd Director, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Extraspace Solutions, who share our vision of innovative, attractive, and high-quality housing units that will help meet the needs of homeless Londoners.”
“Extraspace Solutions bring considerable expertise to PLACE’s crucial mission. We’re excited about driving forward with PLACE’s next steps over the coming months.”
Eleanor Moloney, Extraspace Solutions Lead Designer, added: “Extraspace are delighted to be supporting PLACE’s mission to provide high-quality, local accommodation for people needing a home.
“We are thrilled to be helping to deliver this exciting initiative, showcasing modern modular solutions in the residential market. This scheme will combine innovative design with a community feel. Our precision-manufactured modular houses will deliver the quality of permanent homes, meeting the London Plan’s space standards, and can be relocated to the site of most need.”
James Murray, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, commented: “The rise in homelessness in recent years is a national disgrace. Government cuts mean London’s councils are too often left with little choice other than to offer homeless families expensive housing far from their local area.
“We’re pleased to support this initiative, which uses modular construction and temporarily vacant sites to help ease some of that pressure and make a real difference to the families involved.”
Cllr Rachel Blake, Tower Hamlets Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “I welcome Extraspace Solutions to this ground-breaking project.
“They are joining a partnership that is committed to tackling the housing crisis and to finding the innovative solutions necessary to improve the lives of homeless people in Tower Hamlets and beyond.”