New homeless hostel could be built in Starbeck

Harrogate Borough Council owned land on Spa Lane could become a new hostel
Harrogate Borough Council owned land on Spa Lane could become a new hostel

A public consultation could soon be held over the potential construction of a new homeless hostel in Starbeck, if approval is given for the project to progress.

Harrogate Borough Council owned land on Spa Lane could be used for a 19-bed facility if the council gives the go-ahead tomorrow at a cabinet member meeting (Tuesday, February 20).

Geared towards providing accommodation for single homeless people the hostel would go before a public consultation in March before an application is submitted. Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, Coun Mike Chambers says the facility could benefit younger homeless people unable to pay for accommodation.

He said: "All in all this is a good move forward which will allow us to accommodate single homeless people and have an up to date facility in place for the district. This would help people who are in desperate need, we often find this is the case for younger people who are under 35.

"Many have real difficulty finding accommodation in Harrogate and often because of the costs."

He added: " Whilst I understand there will be people who will want to have their say we will be having a consultation later this year. It is a sensitive issue but I have so far heard no opposition to it.

"If we get planning permission it gives us the opportunity to build a new hostel which will give accommodation for 19 people and provide a space for the severe weather warning program."

Councils in the UK are expected to operate a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), emergency access accommodation for rough sleepers. The Harrogate Homeless Project had been commissioned to deliver this on behalf of the council but confirmed it could no longer deliver this from 2017 due to no suitable premises being available.

While the council has been unable to find an alternative premises the hostel since then the new building, if approved, could be used for this.

Currently the council has temporary accommodation for 33 families and 17 single persons in the district. This includes Cavendish House on Robert Street in Harrogate, which provides 9 bedsits.

Finding accommodation is becoming increasingly hard for single people in the private rental sector, according to a council report on the project. Single people claiming benefits under 35 are limited to £68.35 a week in Harrogate through the Local Housing Allowance rate.

It was also flagged that currently there is no accommodation for wheelchair users, while there is also an increasing number of people with physical health problems presenting themselves as homeless to the council.

The new facility would have two fully accessible units out of the 19 self-contained units. If approved the council expects the construction of the building to begin in January 2019.