Modular housing built to provide affordable supported living for those experiencing homelessness
In 2020, Allia led a project working with Jimmy’s Cambridge, a homelessness charity and the New Meaning Foundation, an ethical construction social enterprise. Six modular homes were created as supported living for people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge. The success of the model – using temporary land loaned for low or no cost for a period of time and moving the homes to a different site to retain affordability – has been proven, and further projects are being researched across the UK.
“The evidence suggests that providing modular homes in tandem with robust support services has the potential to improve outcomes for people experiencing homelessness”
The Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, University of Cambridge
Residents live in their own private accommodation for as long as they need it and receive intensive personalised support from Jimmy’s on-site. When the units move to another low-cost location in the city, which enables future project costs to be kept affordable, residents have the choice of continuing to live in their homes or moving on to more permanent accommodation.
The units were built by the New Meaning Foundation, a charitable social enterprise which trains young, disadvantaged and formerly homeless people in modern methods of construction.
A report written by housing experts from the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR) 12 months after the launch found that the pilot project reduced drug and alcohol misuse and dramatically boosted physical and mental health – leading to improved financial management, new or increased work or training, and renewed relationships with family members.
“Mods (modular homes) are a cost-effective and flexible stepping stone that help rough sleepers in desperate situations transition into permanent homes and settled lives.”
Following the success of the Cambridge pilot we worked on another modular homes project in Cambridgeshire in 2022, where we provided a comprehensive project delivery service coordinating the planning process, procurement of the housing units and site preparation. We worked in partnership with Places for People Living Plus, Fenland District Council, The Ferry Project, and New Meaning Foundation to deliver six new homes for people who are homeless.
We are actively researching routes for how we can roll out modular homes nationwide, to help those vulnerably housed across the UK. For information about the pilot, the current national roll-out project or if you would like to partner with us and help create new homes, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The original Cambridge pilot project benefited from the kindness and generosity of a whole host of donors and supporters listed below, who enabled the homes to be built through providing the land, to kitting out the kitchens and through pro bono legal advice.
Barr Ellison – legal
Carter Jonas – planning
Corporate Architecture – construction drawings
Mick George – groundworks
Robert Myers Associates – landscape design
WSP – engineering
Aidan Charitable Trust
Greater Cambridge Partnership
Marshall Group Properties
Anglian Water – sewerage connection
A&K air conditioning – ventilation fitting
Cambridge Ahead – housing group support
Cambridge City Council – site search
Cambridge Water – water connection
It Takes a City – inspiration
Joseph Evans – Wren Kitchen designer
New Meaning Foundation – financial contribution to construction
Nuaire – ventilation units
Saunders Boston Architects – interior features
Sector Three Property – discounted rates
Urban & Civic – fabrication warehouse at Waterbeach
The Diocese of Ely and the church council of Christ the Redeemer
Cambridge Building Society, Hewitsons, The Sam Family, TTP
Cambridge Innovation Parks, Costello Medical, The Sam Family