New Homes Unveiled (Added 18/05/21 )
Leeds Action to Create Homes (Latch) is today celebrating the unveiling of four new properties that will play a vital role in tackling growing homelessness in the city.
The Victorian property in Harehills has been completely transformed from a run down and derelict villa into four comfortable modern flats over the past year. The project has also provided unemployed people with vital skills to help them get back into work as they have worked alongside Latch staff to complete the renovation.
The three one-bed flats and one two-bed flat will provide additional housing for people in Leeds where there are over 5,500 people currently homeless or living in poor quality housing. It is estimated that over 3,500 privately owned homes in the city like the one transformed by Latch remain empty (many derelict) despite this housing crisis.
James Hartley, CEO of Latch explains:
“The property was a complete wreck at the start of the project and our team have completely remodelled and transformed it. There was no heating or hot water, the roof was leaking and the windows were broken. It has now been rewired, re-painted, plastered, thermally insulated and sound proofed. All the windows and doors have been replaced and new kitchens and bathrooms have been installed. The property has also been fully furnished to provide the new tenants with everything they need to make a fresh new start.”
The £375,000 transformation has been made possible thanks to support from Leeds City Council, Power to Change and the Clothworkers Foundation. Land Aid has also supported the provision of PPE to ensure the build was Covid-19 secure.
The project has also enabled 10 unemployed people to gain valuable construction skills in everything from painting and plastering to insulating and tiling.
Ryan Jeffers, who worked on the project as a trainee and has since secured employment with the Latch staff team, explains:
“I’ve learnt a huge range of skills during my time as a trainee with Latch and am proud to have now secured paid employment. You would have to pay a lot of money to go to college to learn these kind of skills and it has been amazing to get paid to learn them.”
There is an enormous demand for properties in Leeds from those who are homeless or in urgent housing need and the charity is busy assessing applications for the new homes. Latch tenants are supported by the charity to help them to turn their lives around as they make progress towards independent living.
Latch is already looking to the future and has aspirations to help more of the thousands of individuals and families in need. The charity will be launching a Community Share Issue in the Summer to help raise £350,000 towards the costs of purchasing another six properties over the coming months and years. Funding is also being sought from other grants and businesses.
James Hartley explains:
“We are determined to help even more people make a fresh start in life and support them towards independent living. The vital funds we hope to raise from the Community Share Issue will help us play our part in bringing some more of the thousands of run down and empty privately owned homes in the city back into use as quality homes for those in need. We expect the housing situation in Leeds to get worse as a result of unemployment due to Covid-19 and our work remains as important as when we started over 30 years ago.”