Empty cottages converted into accommodation for rough sleepers

Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Two former empty cottages in Harlow have been converted into supported accommodation for rough sleepers. 

Bromley Cottages on Netteswell Road have undergone extensive internal and external refurbishment following Harlow Council successfully obtaining funding from the Government’s rough sleeping initiative fund. Further funding has just been announced which allows the council to continue to provide a range of measures to support rough sleepers. 

The cottages are owned by the council and were refurbished by its local authority trading company HTS (Property & Environment) Ltd. 

The historic cottages, which had stood empty and derelict for many years due to the refurbishment cost, will be leased to local homeless charity Streets2Homes. The charity will use the cottages for specialist supported accommodation for up to nine rough sleepers. 

The  refurbishment was completed last week and Streets2Homes will take them over from 1 April 2019. The cottages are still to be furnished before they are used. 

Kerrie Eastman, Chief Executive Officer for Streets2Homes, said:

“We have been working towards providing an accommodation project for many years now and are thrilled to have this opportunity through Harlow Council and the Rough Sleeper Initiative funding. The refurb by HTS has exceeded our expectations and the properties are going to provide bed spaces for nine individuals. 

“The properties are ideally situated and will enable Streets2Homes to provide intensive individual support. This will not only relieve homelessness but also encourage and support positive life changes that will help them to move on to secure and sustainable permanent accommodation and increase their future life opportunities."

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: 

“Thanks to a package of support in place over the last year and partnership work with Streets2Homes the town has seen a reduction in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets. But there is always more that we can do. 

Behind every rough sleeper’s story there are many different circumstances and complex situations. We know that rough sleepers need more than just a place to live – that is the first solution for many – but it’s the specialist support and help over the long term which is equally important.

The completion of this project  is significant in helping us do more. I know for some time that Kerrie from Streets2Homes has wanted a place like this and I’m glad that by working together we have made that dream a reality.

“Bromley Cottages have long been part of Harlow’s past way before Harlow became a new town and they will, I hope, long be a part of the town’s future. I can’t think of a better way than these cottages being used as accommodation to help people who are living on the streets get their lives back on track.”