Salvation Army opens homeless haven at Booth House Lifehouse, Grimsby
AN ECO-FRIENDLY housing project for homeless people has officially opened its doors.
The Booth House Lifehouse is a 35-bed facility for men and women over the age of 25, providing en-suite rooms in clusters of five as well as support services.
The £5.2 million facility, standing on the corner of Eleanor Street, in Grimsby, has been built in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council but is owned and run by The Salvation Army.
It has solar panels which allow the centre to generate its own electricity and pump power back into the National Grid, and it also has a natural green roof that acts as insulation.
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Centre manager Neil Stamp said: "This project has taken a long time to come to fruition. The first e-mail about it was sent back in 1996.
"The people who are coming here are getting a safe haven and I love working with all of them.
"We have great staff and we support people in every way.
"We are called Lifehouse and our saying is that we are more than a place to stay, and that is very true.
"We have a state-of-the-art ICT suite and we have just been registered with City & Guilds so we can provide education here, too."
The facility has been running for some time, and has now been officially opened.
Residents will receive help and advice to beat addictions, learn IT, literacy, numeracy, cooking and budgeting skills.
They will also be offered relationship and bereavement counselling, support in applying for employment, and ultimately help in finding their own permanent accommodation.
Lee Edwards, 40, has been living at Lifehouse for about nine weeks.
"Earlier this year I lost my job and also ended up in hospital through a drink-related illness," he said.
"I was losing my home and I got referred here. I really was at rock bottom, but since then my life has changed.
"The Salvation Army has been giving me advice and has helped me through everything and it has turned my life around.
"I grew up in care and since I was about three years old I haven't known what it has been like to have a family but being here has given me that. I have a five-year plan now and I hope to set up my own cleaning business. I'm ready to move forward."
Stephen Ockelton, 50, said: "The recession has made me homeless and I had nowhere to turn, but luckily I got in here.
"All the staff bend over backwards and do a fantastic job. It is just a shame there is not room for more people here."
It was designed by architects UW and built by Lincoln-based construction company Lindum Construction.
As reported, it cost £5.2 million, with funding from various sources including £1.75 million from the Homes and Community Agency's National Affordable Housing Programme and £1.25 million from Places of Change.