A solution to the homelessness crisis?

As the number of people living on the streets continues to rise year after year, a solution has never been more urgent. The homelessness crisis is a tough problem to solve, but modular accommodation may be the answer we’ve been looking for, says PBC Today

According to Crisis, the national homeless charity, around 227,000 people are currently homeless in the UK. That’s a staggering 2000 more people who have been more homeless since 2018 and equates to around 1 in 52 people. This number continues to rise year on year – the effects of the lingering Covid-19 pandemic and exacerbating an already widespread problem, as financial situations worsen due to layoffs and job uncertainty.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed inflation soared to 5.4% in the 12 months to December 2021, the biggest rise since March 1992. The increase The drastic cost of living, which has steadily increased over the past few years, has made it increasingly difficult to find monetary stability in our current economic climate.

Along with this, there is a nationwide shortage of affordable and accessible housing, making it harder for people to enter the housing market without financial assistance, and rental housing is just as difficult to obtain. It is more evident than ever that if the UK government is to achieve its ambitious housing development target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, alternative methods of housing must be considered.

Forbes research shows that while modular is on the rise, the UK is still slow to adopt compared to other countries, with only 7.5% of homes using modular or prefabricated elements compared to Japan (15 %), Germany (20%), and Sweden (84%).

The benefits of modular

In order to better understand why modular is ideal for tackling homelessness, it is important to understand the benefits of modular construction as a whole.

Modular buildings, used as both permanent and temporary solutions, are constructed offsite under controlled conditions, using the same materials and codes as traditional housing, then transported to the site for a completed building.

The nature of their construction means that they are extremely fast, with a delivery rate up to 70% faster than traditional construction methods. In addition, since the units are already prefabricated, the construction time is therefore reduced, which also reduces labor costs.

As the construction industry faces skills shortages and a shrinking workforce due to Brexit and the ripple effects of the pandemic, modular aids in building site productivity. Because modular construction takes place in a controlled environment, weather delays are no longer an obstacle to construction deadlines, making it easier for construction teams to achieve their goals!

Pod hosting: the solution?

The problem is that many local councils are struggling to provide temporary accommodation for homeless and homeless people across the UK. With government cutbacks and problems with the supply of temporary accommodation due to difficulties in accessing the private rental sector, councils are seeing increasing pressure on funds, which unfortunately leaves people with little or no of option. That’s why more than ever, a cheap, fast and durable solution is needed.

This is where modular module hosting comes in.

There are various programs in the UK and around the world that use modular construction to help provide temporary and long-term accommodation for the homeless.

Pod accommodation has been described as “a halfway house between temporary accommodation and full-fledged independent living”, which has taken off in recent years and is becoming a popular choice for accommodation for the homeless. shelter, especially in cities.

Ulmer’s Nest

In January 2021, the city of Ulm in Germany introduced pod accommodation as a form of emergency accommodation where people could reside to keep them warm and protect them from the harsh winter weather.

Designed by Wilhelmsbuero, Ulmer’s Nests are crafted from wood and steel, making them a durable, weatherproof ‘frostbite shelter’ that also uses IoT technology to provide support and assistance people using the shelters.

The SoloHaus diet

Since then, other countries have also moved forward with their own vision of modular module systems. SoloHaus, launched by Hill Group, is another example of how companies are tackling the homelessness crisis.

When the first lockdown came into effect in March 2020, many businesses recognized the urgent need to act to get people off the streets and into safe temporary accommodation. Described as “an innovative approach to tackling homelessness”, SoloHaus is a safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable home.

Pods are designed to reduce costs and ensure efficiency. Because they are built using modular techniques, the modules are extremely quick to build and are fully tested and commissioned before delivery. The modules are even described as “stackable”, with the possibility of adding another floor.

So let’s talk about the costs. Currently, each pod costs around £47,000 to build and only costs £5 in electricity costs per week. Since each accommodation is available to the tenant for two years, it is a great alternative to temporary accommodation, which can get expensive and runs nightly, meaning there are often plenty anxiety and uncertainty about where your next bed will be. to be.

Pod schematics, in action

Currently, there is a housing scheme in the London Borough of Redbridge which houses modular pod houses. Malachi Place was made available to the Salvation Army on a 5 year lease, to provide a pop-up hostel in Illford town centre. The program uses converted shipping containers and currently houses 42 people.

And it’s not just big cities that are considering modular, pod-based accommodation as a solution for housing the homeless. Pembrokeshire County Council, Wales, has turned a former school site into a homeless shelter using pod homes.

The site is formed from eight pre-built modules and provides shelter for those in need, helping people transition from temporary housing to a permanent housing solution.

Is pod hosting a feasible solution?

Of course, there is no simple solution to homelessness. Although pod accommodation is a major advancement in temporary accommodation, as the number of homeless people increases so does the demand for accommodation.

What we have seen from recent lockdowns is that where there is enough demand, solutions can happen, and the pandemic has certainly shown the overall benefits of modular temporary housing.

Not only a more durable and significantly cheaper solution to operate as a whole, modular modules can also be assembled quickly to meet demand on currently unused land or space.

This means local councils do not need to build on new land and space can be reallocated to accommodate the modules. The pre-assembled nature of the modular also means minimal disruption to surrounding residents!

One of the most appealing parts of sheltering is the independence the pods offer the people who use them, representing more than just a safe place to stay, but a transition from temporary shelter to permanent housing.

Lydia Bamford

[email protected]


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