PLANS to refurbish disused cottages to provide temporary housing for families in crisis will ‘help give them a safe starting point from which to build their futures’, according to the Salvation Army.
If planning approval is granted, the charity will convert the cottages and floors above its shop in Minden Street to create three units – one one-bed maisonette, one two-bed house, and one three-bed house – to accommodate different family sizes.
Captains Alice and Richard Nunn, who lead the Salvation Army in Jersey, explained that the proposal came in response to a need identified in the Jersey Homelessness Strategy published in November 2020, and also the church and charity organisation’s own observations of the need for accommodation, especially for young families in Jersey who are in crisis.
Mrs Nunn said: ‘This is something we often see, families who are currently living in cramped and inappropriate and non-permanent homes, or even with nowhere to live and really struggling, and not knowing what they can do about it and how they might find better and more secure accommodation.
‘The three secure homes will be for families or households of differing sizes, primarily with children, and although these won’t be long-term homes, during the time they are with us we will provide holistic care and support, as well as advocating for the families to ensure they eventually may move into more suitable and permanent homes where they will be able to thrive.
‘It will be what we call “supported housing” with a specialist member of staff on hand to give that much needed support.’
Mr Nunn added: ‘Although we know our three homes won’t solve the housing problem – the accommodation is not designed to be a “long-term” solution – it will be an additional resource available to give families much needed breathing space and support during a very difficult phase of life.’
If the plans are approved the accommodation units would be neutrally decorated to allow each family to bring some of their own possessions to make it ‘home’. However, the essential furnishings will be provided by the charity.
The three units would surround a central courtyard, which the charity hopes would provide ‘inspiring external amenity space’ which is ‘hidden away from the “hustle and bustle” of the busy town centre’, with a substantial wall mural created as part of a school or community project, or by a local artist.
Although there is no official timeline for the project at the moment, the applicants’ thoughts have already turned to fundraising.
Mr Nunn explained: ‘We have already secured some funding from various sources for the capital building costs, but we hope people here in Jersey will capture the vision of what we are doing, and will feel able to support us in many different ways to help us provide comfortable, secure and happy homes for the families we will be welcoming in the future.
‘There will be lots of ways that people might be able to help, even in very small ways, and we’ll be launching our fundraising campaign for the new Salvation Army homes – so watch this space.’