Case studies  

New beginnings - September 2017

Through the Community Investment Programme (CIP), we have invested in new accommodation for vulnerable single homeless people in Camden, providing a vital lifeline for some of our most vulnerable residents.

The new Mount Pleasant building opened in 2015. It provides safe accommodation and training for vulnerable people, to help them get back into work and stay independent. It was a former hostel, originally built 100 years ago as part of a workhouse, but has undergone an impressive transformation. The old building was dark and dingy, and not welcoming at all. It was not as open and as accessible as the new building, the reception area was like a cashiers hatch. 

There are now 50 units of modern en-suite studio accommodation and training rooms for single homeless people with support needs.

Frehiwot’s story – Stayed at Mount Pleasant from 2015 – 2016

Due to personal issues, Frehiwot found herself homeless in 2015. "At the end of 2014, I was severely depressed, I went back to Ethiopia as I felt like I had lost myself, I felt disconnected from the world and tried to commit suicide. It was a dark time for me but thanks to my family, I have managed to pull through.

I was on crutches when I came to Mount Pleasant.  I cannot believe the change in me from the day I went to Mount Pleasant until the day I left; my situation changed from negative to positive. During my time at Mount Pleasant, I took part in some of the programmes and went to an art workshop once a week.” The art workshop is one of many offered to residents, other programmes and activities include music and writing skill workshops. 

“I never imagined my life to be normal again after my depression but the staff were so supportive, they showed me what life is about. My support worker is one of the best people I have met. I also felt comfortable meeting other residents who had been in similar situations. The facilities here are great, they helped me to live independently which I never thought I would be able to do. The room was very comfortable and for one person it was just enough.”

Frehiwot stayed at Mount Pleasant for a year and now lives in privately rented accommodation. She donated some of her own artwork to Mount Pleasant - bringing some colour to the reception area. 


Brian Corcoran December 2016 – present 

Brian Corcoran, has been at Mount Pleasant since he was evicted from his privately rented property in December 2016.

My journey was quite dramatic - I was evicted from my property last December because of rent arrears. At the time, I was ill in bed and was told to pack my bag and leave. I went to Camden Town hall and I moved to Mount Pleasant on the same day. I have found everything here ok and I have no complaints, the team here have been tip-top. My room is fine and I share a kitchen with just one other person.  It has been very good, I have been going to the ‘piece by piece’ course, which is to help you to organise your life when living on your own. My support worker is excellent and he has helped me immensely. 

Brian is now looking to move into sheltered housing. 

 

Holly Lodge Estate -  March 2017 

Blocks of poor quality bedsits on Holly Lodge estate, have been transformed into new family homes. The properties were clustered around shared facilities, had no heating, were poorly insulated and in need of complete refurbishment. The work included converting bed-sit accommodation into a mix of self-contained homes. The first phase was completed in 2012 and the second phase is due to complete in Spring 2017.  

Chris Esmond lived at Agar Grove for 20 years. In 2015 he moved to Holly Lodge and is happy with the improvements to his home. 

“I am impressed with the way my flat has been finished; it has been a very positive experience. I feel very fortunate to have moved here and the refurbishment works were first class, I don’t think I could have wished for better.”

New homes in Camden - October 2016

Local residents and councillors celebrated as they marked reaching the top of the new housing block at Agar Grove, in a topping out ceremony last October.

The new block is now complete providing 38 new council homes for residents currently living in older housing on the estate. The redevelopment is the largest housing project in CIP.

A total of 493 new and replacement homes are being built at Agar Grove. They will be larger than the flats they replace and are being built to high standards of environmental sustainability, to keep fuel bills low.

The new homes will be a mix of council homes for rent, intermediate rent and private homes, providing the range of homes badly needed in the face of London’s housing crisis and damaging government housing policy.

Agar Grove residents Mrs Glenda Latchmansighn (far left) and Pat Dunn (far right) with Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of the Council, and Simon Trice, Regional Director of Hill.

We spoke to two excited residents on the day. Glenda and Pat will be among the first set of residents to move into the new block once it’s complete.

Glenda Latchmansighn:

“I’m really looking forward to moving into one of the new homes. I’ve seen the plans and I’m now eager to see the finished look. It will be nice to have more room and I’m pleased to hear that it will be tripled glazed.

“It’s just three of us on the Sturminster and we’re all excited about the move. I’ve lived on the estate for over 20 years and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Pat Dunn: 

“I was one of the first residents to move into the estate with my parents over 50 years ago and so it’s quite nice to be one of the first again. This time I will be moving into the new block with my family and we’re hoping to get one of the ground floor flats with a garden.

"I’m looking forward to the move as it will mean more space and it will be a nicer design. I’m also keen on the cameras and the security measures which will help deter anti-social behaviour.”

Residents in neighbouring blocks on the estate moved in to this new block in Spring 2018 and the second phase of development has begun. This phase includes three new blocks and 34 new council homes for residents currently living in older housing on the estate as well as 23 private sale homes, a café, a new public square and garden.

With only 2% of the council’s capital programme until 2025 funded from government grants, the Council generates funding for its Community Investment Programme through the sale of under-used council buildings, receipts from the private homes it builds and making better use of its land.