Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Unitas Stoke-on-Trent Ltd, the council’s property maintenance company, have worked alongside local charity, The Macari Foundation, to help transform an unused warehouse into a safe haven for homeless people during the pandemic.
The unit, in Stoke-on-Trent, comprises 13 housing ‘pods’, which were constructed to re-house residents staying at the city’s Marcari Centre – a dormitory-style homeless facility owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Unitas aided with the construction of 12 en-suite bathrooms, a shower block, a full-catering kitchen, and laundry facilities. The set-up allows for individuals to self-isolate and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Unitas upgraded the electrical supply and drainage system, built a new boiler house from scratch, and installed fire prevention measures and emergency lighting to safeguard the centre’s residents – ensuring the disused warehouse was suitable for present and future residents.
Councillor Powell-Beckett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “It is an innovative solution that all parties should be very proud of. Unitas has a fully skilled workforce to undertake such a project and I had every confidence that they would finish the job to their usual exacting standards.”
In an update, The Macari Foundation wrote: “We’d like to extend our thanks to Council Leader Abi Brown and all the team at Stoke-on-Trent City Council who have supported us throughout and their hard work to make the new accommodation possible – this could, quite literally, prove to be a life saver for the homeless people we are housing.”
The Macari Centre provides temporary accommodation for anyone who suddenly finds themselves homeless. However, following Government lockdown instructions to close down dormitory-style facilities, it was important for them to seek alternative shelter for their current residents.
Speaking as a representative from The Macari Foundation, Anthony Munday said: “On behalf of Lou and everyone else at the Macari Foundation, I would like to convey a huge thank you for your hard work, skill and dedication to produce an excellent facility and exciting project at Unit 4.”
More information about the The Macari Foundation can be found at macari-foundation.co.uk