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  • Date: 13/12/2023

New purpose-built accommodation for disabled people impacted by homelessness

We're excited to share that we have opened the doors to a new, fully adapted, supported accommodation scheme for men impacted by homelessness.

Our homelessness specialist, Concrete, launched the new scheme this month. It will create homes for 14 local men impacted by homelessness – including those with physical disabilities.

A recent report from The Conversation highlighted that while disabled people represent 22% of the overall UK population, they may represent up to 39% of the homeless population, according to a study from the University of York. These figures match further data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Stats released this summer revealed that the number of people eligible for homelessness support in England, such as emergency accommodation, because of a disability, rose by 73% from 2018 to 2022.

Concrete’s new scheme will account for these additional needs, with the whole building being completely adapted and disabled-friendly. This includes ramps, wet rooms and large communal areas.

While the accommodation will provide a home for men, it will also be a place for them to develop too. The building features dedicated areas for professionals to come in and deliver support in-house, such as a dedicated nurse’s office, as well as areas for staff to provide tailored support.

Concrete’s Head of Homelessness, Housing and Complex Needs, Laura Dalton, shared more about the need for an adapted scheme in the city.

“Homelessness does not have a type – it can impact absolutely anyone, and we know from recent research that the number of disabled people needing homelessness support is continuing to rise.

“It’s something we’ve seen ourselves, too. Last year we supported 63 people with disabilities, which was an increase of 3% on the previous year.

“Despite these figures and our own experience, adapted accommodation is sadly lacking in Stoke-on-Trent. That’s why we were really keen to build more of this type of accommodation ourselves, to support that community and be a real leader in the sector.”

Head of Homelessness, Housing and Complex Needs, Laura Dalton

At Honeycomb Group we place a huge value on 'lived experience' and our new Concrete scheme is no different.

Laura continued: “We’ve worked with an incredible local developer on the new scheme, who has lived experience of homelessness himself.

“He knows first-hand what it’s like to be homeless, so he’s drawn on that experience. He looked at the big picture, while also focusing on the smaller details, to make sure that it covered everything that he’d have found helpful when he experienced homelessness.

“This valuable insight has been a huge driver of the project and made sure that the customer is at the heart of every decision throughout the building process.”

Honeycomb Group’s Director of Support and Wellbeing, Melanie Dunn, added:

“Each of Concrete’s customers has a unique story that has led them to the service. To change the narrative for them, we need to understand their individual needs and create safe, supportive spaces for them to thrive and move forward.

“We know how needed adapted homeless accommodation is, so we’re proud to lead the way in providing a unique supported accommodation scheme such as this in Stoke-on-Trent. We’re looking forward to launching and seeing the impact that it has on local men impacted by homelessness.”

Customer Aaron* has faced homelessness and addiction for many years. He was one of the first to move into the new accommodation scheme and says it's a 'fresh start' for him.

He explained: "The new scheme is amazing – by far the nicest place I’ve ever been. It makes me want to sort myself out and start again. I didn’t expect to be here before Christmas but Concrete made it happen – it’s definitely an amazing present for all of us.

"I’ve been on drugs since an early age. I’ve had a lot of problems, but I am done with everything now. Moving in here is a fresh start for me – I can’t live like that anymore. I’ve had enough of it.

"My room is absolutely brilliant. I’ve got a telly and my own space. I can’t wait to settle in.”

*name changed to protect identity

Find out more about the new scheme here.