The Parish Rooms in Bridgnorth purchased – to provide accommodation for homeless people
Shropshire Council is pleased to have purchased The Parish Rooms in Bridgnorth, a vacant building, in a bid to increase the offer of accommodation for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Shropshire.
The Parish Rooms in Bridgnorth has been unoccupied for over two years, and will now be converted into housing units for single people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
The purchase supports the council’s priority to help those at risk of homelessness, or who have become homeless, to find longer term accommodation, and will be jointly managed by Shropshire Council and their managing agent, Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STAR Housing).
The council aims to provide suitable and sustainable housing solutions for homeless people. The consequences of not providing suitable temporary accommodation for homeless single people would mean individuals remaining in wholly unsuitable provision, such as B&B type accommodation. As well as limiting a person’s opportunity and ability to improve their situation and move on, having people in B&B puts further significant financial pressure on the council’s budget and resources.
The purchase of The Parish Rooms is another step in the right direction towards the council’s homelessness pathway which supports people into long-term settled accommodation, and is a much-needed provision to meet the community’s housing needs. Without this type of accommodation, more people will find themselves homeless on the streets, or in unsuitable housing provision for longer.
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, said:-
“I am delighted, and welcome the news that we have now purchased The Parish Rooms in Bridgnorth.
“The Parish Rooms are for people in Shropshire experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, who have additional support needs to help them get back on their feet and enable them to move on to their permanent home.
“It is not, and never has been, the intention to use The Parish Rooms for asylum seekers or migrants accommodation, and any claim to the contrary is completely untrue.
“Obtaining ownership of The Parish Rooms is part of our ongoing work to help people away from homelessness, including those who are currently being hosted in temporary B&B accommodation.
“The Parish Rooms will include supported accommodation and wraparound support for those who present themselves to the council as homeless, most of whom want to help themselves find a permanent home and a job and be very much part of their community.
“We know the property has been a bit of an eyesore for people as it’s been vacant for over two years, and we can now move forward and give it a new lease of life. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by the end of 2024, and we will keep local residents updated on its progress.”
Kirstie Hurst-Knight and Christian Lea, the two local Shropshire Councillors for Bridgnorth East and Astley Abbotts, also welcoming the news, said:-
“We very much welcome The Parish Rooms, which have stood empty for the past two years, being brought back into use.
“With them being situated at a key entrance point to the town, it is pleasing that the building will have new life breathed into it by providing much needed accommodation for those people who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.”
Shropshire Council recognises the complex needs and challenges of homeless people and has a statutory duty to support those who are homeless. Homelessness is not just about a lack of accommodation, but is often connected to a wider set of more complex needs and situations. Being homeless can also have a major impact on both a person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
It is vital that we, and organisations we work with, provide a means for people to secure better futures, with safe and well-managed accommodation being a key part of our offer.