Homeless couples and families in York can now live in newly-fitted out apartments.
James House on James Street has been converted into 57 self-contained one-, two- and three-bedroomed apartments.
It includes facilities for on-site support services and training that will help residents move on into settled accommodation usually either in social housing or the private rented sector.
All of the spacious apartments have separate bedrooms and living space, plus a shower room and storage.
Nearly 160 people can be safely and comfortably accommodated at this city-centre location which is owned and managed by City of York Council.
The £12.4m project overran by more than a year after contractor problems.
The apartments will be allocated to people who the council has been unable to prevent becoming homeless.
They will then be found more settled accommodation, usually in social housing or suitable private rented accommodation.
For the duration of the coronavirus emergency, existing temporary accommodation at Ordnance Lane, Crombie House and Howe Hill Hostel will also continue to be used to support homeless households.
Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “During the coronavirus emergency it will provide very welcome extra capacity.
“We are only moving households when it is essential to do so and we will do it as safely as possible. The 57 apartments will support the safe social distancing households need, and will support self-isolation too.
“I’d like to thank the staff from across housing teams who have worked long and hard to ensure that we can get this facility open. I’m delighted that we are able to add this to our range of support services for homeless households at this time.”
Working with landlords
The council is continuing to run services for people who are concerned about becoming homeless and need advice on their options. This is being done online or by phone on 01904 554500 or visit the council website.
A City of York Council spokesperson said: “Work to support our tenants also includes halting the first three months of this year’s annual housing rent increase.
“This is in addition to ongoing work to help people avoid homelessness through, for example, financial hardship, relationship breakdown or, issues with private landlords. We’re also working with landlords across the city to support them and minimise evictions.”