Modular housing firm chosen for £40m homelessness scheme

Construction Manager reports manufacturer Extraspace Solutions has won a £40m contract to provide modular homes to a not-for-profit company set up by a group of London boroughs to provide high-quality accommodation for homeless Londoners.

Extraspace Solutions will design and manufacture modular housing units for PLACE (Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise), which will have the quality of permanent housing but can be relocated to a different site when required. London boroughs will use the units as temporary accommodation for homeless families.

Under the contract, Extraspace will 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.  

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: "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."

Eleanor Moloney, Extraspace Solutions lead designer, said: "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, said: "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."

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