A bright and colourful housing project which is set to help single people in housing need was officially opened in Mitcham today.
The affordable YMCA accommodation scheme, in Clay Avenue, was unveiled by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis.
The 36-apartment Y:Cube development is designed as move-on accommodation for people leaving homelessness hostels and supported housing schemes with apartments being rented out at 65% of the market rate in the area.
Mr Lewis said: “We are determined that the most vulnerable in our society have a safe place to call home.
“It is inspiring to see innovative developments like this one here today.”
Wendy Omollo, 24, is one of the first Y:Cube tenants to move into the site.
Having previously been homeless and slept rough on the streets in Kingston upon Thames, she came to YMCA London South West in February 2015.
She said: “By having my own space with my own front door I will regain my independence.
“But it’s not just that. As the rent is affordable and I can stay for up to five years, I’ll also be able to save money for a deposit.
“When the time comes to move on from Y:Cube, I will be in a far better situation than today.”
The ‘plug and play’homes were constructed over a six-month period in Derbyshire and transported to Mitcham where they have been quickly and easily connected to electricity, water and heating.
YMCA hopes to roll out other similar Y:Cube schemes across London and parts of England in the near future.
Along with investment from YMCA London South West, the Y:Cube development in Mitcham was funded with a grant of £337,000 from the Mayor of London’s Building the Pipeline scheme and ‘social investments’ from City Bridge Trust, Tudor Trust, Trust for London and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Land, Richard Blakeway, said: “This innovative scheme aims to give young people the chance to rent their own home in the capital at an accessible price and is part of a range of much needed housing the Mayor has helped deliver.
“I hope the site we are launching today is the first of many more to come across London.”
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England, said: “As the largest provider of supported accommodation for young people in the country, YMCA is increasingly seeing young people struggle to afford the costs of private rent, leaving them with few options when they are ready to move on.
“Even for a young person in employment, a combination of low wages and high rents can quickly see them priced out of the market.
“We believe Y:Cube presents a significant opportunity to deliver genuinely affordable housing to meet the increasing demand.”
For more information on Y:Cube, visit: www.ymcalsw.org/ycube