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Vacant building turned into new homes after social landlord awarded £500,000

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Vacant building turned into new homes after social landlord awarded £500,000

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Finance

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Birmingham YMCA has been awarded over £500,000 to renovate and manage an empty property in the city.

The government gave the housing association the funds to transform the former old people’s home on Church Road, Aston into a supported housing development for young people.

Harry Watton House, which has been leased to the social landlord by Birmingham City Council for 25 years, will be renovated to provide 33 accommodation units for young people who would otherwise have nowhere to go.

The building has been empty for several years and has become somewhat of an eye-sore for the people of Aston.

Using the grant, Birmingham YMCA will totally refurbish and remodel the house, as well as ensuring that the young residents are supported into education, training or employment.

Walsall-based building services and decorating specialist Lawlors will undertake the development and building work.

As part of the contract they will also offer eight apprenticeships for young people. The building work is scheduled to be completed by early December this year.

Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said of the agreement: “I’m delighted that Birmingham City Council has been able to reach an agreement with the YMCA to bring this empty building back into use. This deal benefits the city, the YMCA and young people. Secure and safe housing is essential to give young people a sound start in life and this scheme will ensure that young people are receiving the guidance they need.”

Alan Fraser, CEO for the Birmingham YMCA, said: “Negotiations have been complex, but we are delighted that we have finally reached agreement with the City Council and work can begin on site. This is excellent news for the city.

"It provides much-needed housing for young people at a time of unprecedented housing shortage. It’s also a great example of local government and the voluntary sector working together to bring buildings back into use.”

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