Cathedral opening ceremony for £3.3m homeless housing project

(With acknowledgement to Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

Major renovation work around Bradford Cathedral has reached completion with the official opening of new housing scheme for the homeless which will save Bradford Council up to an estimated £500,000 a year.

The £3.3 million pound scheme has created 18 self-contained units, some in a purpose built three story building, Jermyn Court, and some within a building belonging to the Diocese, the Grade II listed Church House opposite the Cathedral, which until recently had stood derelict and empty attracting drug users and squatters.

Church House is being rented from the Diocese of Leeds by Bradford Council for a ‘peppercorn’ rent and this week the Homeless Housing scheme was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid.

Already the units are full and residents can stay for up to three months while being supported by Horton Housing Association which gives them advice and helps them to find permanent homes.

Dean of Bradford, the Very Reverend Jerry Lepine, said Clergy House had been put to “a wonderful purpose” and it had been a pleasure to see the scheme become a reality.

“It will help people springboard their lives, giving them a sense of confidence and security into their lives,” he said at the opening ceremony.

The Council received a grant of £630,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency towards the total cost of the scheme and  rental income is expected to pay for the remainder.

Councillor Val Slater, the Council’s deputy leader said the new scheme will not only save the Council money but provide much more support for the homeless.

“What is also important is that those housed in this accommodation will have much more support than they had in the bed and breakfast accommodation,” she said.

“We had been using B&Bs. It was costing us well over £500,000 a year and that was not sustainable.”

Paul Gartland, Horton Housing’s chief executive officer, said: “While staying at the scheme, we will support individuals and families to find permanent accommodation and get help to address any other issues they may be facing.”

Picture courtesy of  Bradford Telegraph & Argus