01:26PM, Thursday 03 November 2016
Work to turn an empty unit in Howarth Road into a shelter for the homeless began on Monday.
The unit is being converted into a seven-bed emergency accommodation centre as part of a partnership between the Brett Foundation and the Royal Borough.
It is expected to be finished by the middle of January.
Progress has also been made in redecorating and turning Braywick Lodge, in Braywick Road, into four-bed accommodation for vulnerable people.
The buildings are being leased by the council at a peppercorn rate.
The Brett Foundation will need to become formally registered as a charity before it can sign the lease and is working with the council's community enterprise to complete the process. It is expected to be completed within weeks.
Work has also begun to identify the first four people to use the new accommodation.
Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “I am pleased to say that we have made great progress with the Brett Foundation to help them open these new centres.
“The work of Sue Brett and her tireless volunteers is an inspiration to us all and I am glad the Royal Borough has been able to assist in providing these two properties rent-free to allow that work to evolve.
“Fortunately, we have a relatively low level of homelessness in the borough, but that does not mean there are not people out there who need help and it is wonderful to see that two purpose-fitted facilities will soon open their doors to those in need.”
Sue Brett, founder of the Brett Foundation, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be where we are and working together with the Royal Borough on this project. It’s so exciting that we are almost there and that we can make a real difference – it’s a dream come true.
“I cannot wait to get going and to develop this partnership further and help even more people, hopefully before they become homeless, but also to offer support to those who do find themselves homeless.”
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