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Blog: YMCA London South West

Blog: YMCA London South West

When I talk to our residents at my YMCA and ask them what they really want, like many others, they say they want their own home with their own front door, says Andy Redfearn from YMCA London South West.

When I look at our council’s housing waiting list it shows a significant increase in single people applying for housing, limiting the chance for our residents being offered a flat.

When I ask our housing staff what the biggest barrier is in preventing our residents from moving on in their lives, the overwhelming feedback is that there isn’t enough suitable ‘move-on’ accommodation.

When I consider the changes in housing benefit, it seems clear to me that shared accommodation is becoming one of the only options for most of our residents – not an ideal solution.

When I read the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Housing Report on young people, that states 1.5 million young people will, by 2020, be pushed into the private rented sector, where quality and security can be questionable, I think there has to be a better alternative.

I got inspired by this to find a solution. Y:Cube Housing was born.

Y:Cube Housing schemes consist of clusters of self-contained units that don’t require any capital grant and offer good quality, affordable accommodation for single people. The schemes are well suited for location on a variety of sites, which may not be suitable for a traditional development.

Y:Cube is fully funded by a large pension fund, so a housing provider need only sign a lease (in the range of 10-20 years) to see the units craned in and installed on the site. Their first residents can be moving in within four months from signing the lease.. At the end of the lease the units are simply disconnected and moved elsewhere.

That is why, when I think about the future for our residents, I get excited. Over the next few months we will be launching the first Y:Cube scheme in London. Y:Cube isn’t just good news for our residents, it can provide ideal accommodation for workers and students.

Y:Cube Housing is an exciting development in single person housing - it might not solve every housing issue that we’re seeing, but it’s an important start.

Key points:

  • Y:Cube is a new, bespoke housing solution with cubes made off-site and put together in a variety of configurations.
  • Schemes can be up and running just four months after planning consent has been secured.
  • Running costs for the tenants are kept low as schemes meet Code 3 for Sustainable Homes and are designed to last 60 years.
  • The provider managing the scheme receives a 20% management fee.
  • The single room reference rates for under 35 year olds won’t apply if the accommodation is managed by a registered housing provider.

(Andy Redfearn is Director of Development at YMCA London South West ).

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