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Innovative temporary housing in Barry helping homeless people get back on track

18 Dec 2021 5 minute read
New temporary accommodation on Court Road in Barry Picture: Vale of Glamorgan council

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

Innovative temporary housing in Barry helping homeless people get back on track
New innovative and eco-friendly temporary housing in Barry is helping homeless people get their lives back on track.

The 11 lodges built at Court Road by Vale of Glamorgan council opened in August and are already helping people move onto permanent accommodation and into education.

The energy efficient lodges were built on the site of a derelict council depot, and took six months to build using innovative modern methods of construction, using a modular design.
Two people staying there gave their accounts of how the £1 million scheme has helped them with a safe and secure place to live.

Ryan Davies-Young moved to the Court Road lodges in October, having previously stayed in a hotel by Cardiff Airport for eight months. He said he’s now eating better with his own kitchen, is much closer to family, and is finding the lodges much quieter than the hotel.

He said: “I’ve got my own space, and I have less anxiety in this space, because I’ve got a lot of freedom now. I’m very close to town, and I’ve got family living nearby. I can go and see my family whenever. At the hotel I would either have to walk along a dangerous road or catch a bus, and I often didn’t have the money for the bus.

“I can cook for myself and have healthy meals. In the hotel I was eating a lot of pot noodles, I wasn’t feeling very healthy, and was quite depressed. It’s a lot more comfortable here too. It’s a very quiet place. I don’t have issues with the neighbours, and they’re not often loud, there’s no police.”

He added he was hoping to go into either employment or volunteering soon, is taking a part time course at Cardiff and Vale College in computing, and is hoping to move into a permanent home in the new year.

Each lodge has an open plan lounge, kitchen and diner, with a bedroom and ensuite shower room and toilet. Nine of the lodges are for single people and two are for couples. The council is assessing how successful the scheme is, before potentially building more elsewhere in the Vale.

Safe & secure

The council said most single people stay in temporary accommodation for between a year to 18 months, before moving into a permanent home. Families tend to stay in temporary housing for less time, about two or three months.

Adam Tipton moved there in August, having previously lived in shared accommodation in Barry. He was made homeless in March this year after his mother, who he was living with and caring for, died of cancer. At first he was sent to a hotel in Rhoose for a couple of months, and began suffering with drugs and alcohol.

But having a stable and personal place at the Court Road lodges has helped him find a “new purpose and a drive”. He said: “I was falling deeper and deeper into a bad path, due to being made homeless. When my mum passed, I had been with her all the time, and then I didn’t know where I was going. I had a purpose but then I was lost.

“But then I was put here. Now I’m volunteering to become a counsellor, I’m helping people with drugs and substance abuse, and I’m mentoring young people. I’m trying to give back—all due to this place. I’ve sorted myself out, due to the stability.

“It’s a secure, safe environment here. Whereas in shared accommodation, you’re living with five other people you don’t know, and your bedroom door is your front door. There’s no room for progression or to get anywhere better. It’s just somewhere to sleep. Here you have your own space, kitchen, bathroom, and independence. When you feel stable and secure and safe, you’re then going to try and do better things.”

He added he was starting a counselling course in January, and plans to go to university in future and eventually start his own counselling business.

The only problem with the new accommodation, both residents said, was no internet is provided, leaving people living there to rely on expensive options like phone contracts with unlimited data.

Mr Davies-Young said: “It’s my only complaint about the lodges. Everything is brilliant, it just needs the internet, then it would be perfect.”

Mr Tipton added: “You need the internet for everything, like taking courses. They’re working on it though and they have put it to the council. I can understand why there wasn’t any. But that’s the only thing, and there are ways around it.”

While there are currently only 11 lodges, the Vale council is monitoring the success of the accommodation, before deciding whether to expand the scheme to help house more of the 325 people registered as homeless in the Vale of Glamorgan.

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Geoff Horton-Jones
Geoff Horton-Jones
2 years ago

Reminds me of Parker Morris standards and the wonderful post war prefabs sadly demolished in Swansea and replaced with tatty flats
Article needs links so we can find out more. This seems a good scheme for others to build on

Twm Teth
2 years ago

Similar project at the site of the old Pendalar school in Caernarfon.

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