Harrogate's groundbreaking £2m homeless shelter in running for top award

Just 12 months after it first opened, Harrogate Borough Council’s £2 million ground-breaking homeless accommodation at Fern House has been shortlisted for a Northern Housing Award.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 9:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 9:56 am
Harrogate Borough Council’s £2 million ground-breaking homeless accommodation at Fern House has been shortlisted for a Northern Housing Award.

Made up of 19 self-contained bedrooms complete with en-suite bathrooms and kitchen facilities, as well as accommodation, Fern House on Spa Lane in Starbeck provides a complete support package for individuals who are homeless.

This includes health and wellbeing, support for any mental health issues, financial guidance as well as any further advice or information they may require.

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Part funding by Homes England and purpose-built in a project led by Harrogate Borough Council, Fern House also provides laundry and kitchen facilities, 24-hour reception desk, a large conference room as well as a meeting area.

The council's aim in keeping the project in-house was to ensure the new facility fully met the town’s specific needs in a way that safeguarded financial costs in the long run.

To date, Fern House has provided support for 74 residents and acted as a stepping stone to alternative accommodation and ongoing support.

Steve*, who has recently used Fern House, said: "The staff at Fern House have been so kind to me while I was ill. They made the situation very easy for me, helping and supporting me through that.

"The big thing was the safety and security of having a roof over head while I was supported in finding longer term housing. It has been a difficult time in my life that was made easier."

Trevor Watson, Harrogate Borough Council’s director of economy, environment and housing, said: "Sadly, for a number of reasons, some people find themselves homeless and with often, nowhere to turn.

"Fern House not only provides a roof over the head of those in need but also provides a safe and comfortable environment. It also provides an opportunity for us to work with individuals, offering support and guidance in helping address the issues that may have led to their being homeless.

"I’m delighted that the facility, and the support our officers and partners provide to those in need, has been recognised in the Northern Housing Awards shortlist."

The Northern Housing Awards are an annual awards ceremony that aims to highlight the individuals and organisations who make it their mission to improve homes and communities in the north.

Fern House has been shortlisted in the Best Initiative for Tackling Homelessness category and is up against Blackpool Coastal Housing, Durham County Council, Greater Manchester Housing First, Horton Housing Association, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Resonance Ltd and Sefton Council.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 17 in Manchester.