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Home Life: Supported, Self-Built, Housing First Initiative

Architecture Unknown

April 2023



Manchester, like many other cities around the world, has a significant homelessness problem. According to the latest figures, there are around 1,200 people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester on any given night, with many more living in temporary accommodation or sofa-surfing.

There are a number of factors that contribute to homelessness in Manchester, including high housing costs, poverty, mental health issues, addiction, and family breakdown. In recent years, there has also been a rise in the number of people becoming homeless as a result of the UK government's welfare reform policies.

There are a number of organizations and charities in Manchester that work to support homeless people and provide them with essential services, such as food, shelter, and healthcare. These include the Booth Centre, the Mustard Tree, Coffee4Craig and the umbrella organisation, Manchester Homeless Partnership, which includes all 10 boroughs under the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. However, despite the efforts of these wonderful organisations, there is still much work to be done to support those who are sleeping rough or living in precarious housing situations.

Smiling Man on Laptop

We at Architecture Unknown want to lend a hand and use our design expertise to directly enable homeless people to be involved in the design and construction of bespoke homes as part of a unique Housing First strategy. Through the concept of self-build homes, we want to offer opportunities for skill advancement, construction site training, exposure to contractor employers, personalised support and ongoing assessment. This would address social isolation within the homeless community whilst creating vibrant housing developments within existing neighbourhoods that positively impacts their surroundings.

By using placemaking we can enable homeless resident led-briefing, leading to participatory design processes and finally community-led construction, promoting engagement at every level. We at AU are ready to take action- all we need is you!

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