Homeless man

Source: Shutterstock/Followtheflow

In 2019, research by Shelter concluded that 320,000 people in the UK were homeless, up 4% from 2018, and in 2018 there were 1.1 million households on local authority waiting lists for affordable housing. Put simply, increased investment in housing the UK’s homeless population is urgently needed.

But looking ahead, the focus must move to delivering these homes and fast. With the furlough scheme coming to a close and the eviction ban due to end in the coming weeks, the threat of homelessness looms large for many across the UK.

So increased investment in this area must be matched by deployment of the latest techniques to deliver affordable homes quickly, safely and sustainably. Modular and other offsite modern methods of construction, offering high-quality, cost-efficient spaces that can be built at pace while maintaining high safety standards, must be at the very heart of this solution.

The huge number of homeless people housed in hotels during the pandemic highlights the scale of the challenge and the need for time-efficient housing solutions to keep as many people as possible off the streets for good.

In Toronto, Canada, a modular housing initiative for the homeless approved earlier this year has created 110 new units so far and aims to build a further 140 by early 2021.

Closer to home, astudio’s Desborough Road project, which is set to provide 70 units for rough sleeper, is an example of this technique in action. An increase in investment via Alvarium together with modular projects like these, can help deliver the homes needed to tackle the UK’s homelessness crisis once and for all.

Richard Hyams, director, astudio