A vital facility for homeless people has been transformed in a £1.2 million project to improve provisions for vulnerable people in Gosport.
Agnew House, a former sheltered housing complex in Mill Lane, will now cater for the region’s most vulnerable homeless people, from single pregnant women to families with up to four children. It will provide temporary accommodation for families with a local connection who have become homeless and are waiting to be re-homed by the council.
Councillor Graham Burgess, Chairman of the Community Board, said:
“The Council has a statutory duty to secure the provision of accommodation for people who are homeless pending assistance. The Council should be offering families suffering the shock of losing their homes a high-quality placement that provides for their needs. Previously all the Council could offer was temporary accommodation in a building that was beyond its useful life with poor facilities, security and room layouts.”
Under the project, 38 flats formerly designated for the elderly have been converted to 55 accommodation units of varying sizes. Each of the one, two or three-bedroom units will have its own WC and bathroom facilities, whilst all of the units have been designed to be flexible in order to link accommodation and provide larger or smaller units as demand dictates.
Thirteen communal kitchens will be provided, each of which will be fitted with hobs, ovens and fridge/freezers. Further facilities will include a communal laundry room and communal bathrooms, whilst a modern new lift will be installed to replace the existing unit.
In order to ensure a future life cycle of at least 30 years, the building – originally constructed in 1974 – has been updated using the latest building materials and state-of-the-art equipment. An advanced CCTV and fob key system will provide additional security for the building, with the latter restricting resident access to essential areas of the building.
Works have included a replacement flat roof that complies with the latest insulation regulations and the fit out of all corridors and rooms to comply with sound and fire regulations. For instance, the ceilings and walls have incorporated fully dry lining and skim plaster to prevent the spread of flame, whilst new vinyl flooring has been laid throughout to maintain policies of sterility.
Finishes include whiterock wall cladding, PVCu windows and entrance matting.
Sustainable features include photovoltaic cells on the roof, which will in turn offer cheaper communal electricity and offset running costs and service charges.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Mark Hook, said:
“I am delighted that we have found a solution for those residents who find themselves homeless in our Borough. The Agnew Family Centre will provide good temporary accommodation and will help families at a very difficult time. None of us know what is around the corner and we need to look after those families in our community who find themselves homeless. I believe we will all be proud of the new Agnew Family Centre.”
Main contractor for the project is Kier Services Ltd and the architect is The Martin Ralph Group.