Temporary family flats are being developed to combat Crawley’s rising homeless problem and replace hostels that are ‘no longer fit-for-purpose’.
More than 300 households have been placed in temporary accommodation since April 2012.
Former hostels in Denne Road and Park Road in Southgate and Spencers Road in West Green are being transformed into 27 self-contained flats for those most in need.
Most temporary hostel accommodation has shared facilities forcing homeless families to live in one room and share bathrooms and kitchens.
Cllr Richard Burrett, Crawley Borough Council cabinet member for housing, said: “Our older hostels are no longer fit-for-purpose and can have a detrimental effect on the people living in them, including children. As a council we have a legal responsibility to house those most in need and we must make sure our accommodation is of good quality and helps to get people back on their feet when they find themselves in such difficult situations.”
Over the past financial year 343 homeless applications were received with 131 accepted by the council.
The scheme is a partnership between the council and Raven Housing Trust.
Funding for the first phase of the five-year project is split between Raven (£3.4m), the council (£727,450) and the Homes and Communities Agency (£472,750).
Building work should be completed by April with families able to stay in the flats for up to two years while the wait for a permanent home.
Crawley Borough Council has 11 hostel properties comprising of 66 units, and a further 43 units are also leased from the private sector.
Some households have had to be put into emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.
A further eight sites are being considered for development at an estimated cost of £3.5m to the council.
Other initiatives to increase and improve temporary accommodation for the homeless include the potential for Crawley Homes to provide a housing management service for empty properties in the private sector.