Homeless teenage mums living in rundown temporary council housing will soon be moved into Hounslow’s first hostel for new mums – thanks to more than £300k in council cash.
Councillors pledged £324,000 to rebuild Elm Court in Chiswick as a hostel specifically for homeless young mums, after it emerged the facility, along with St Margaret’s House hostel in Sutton Court Road, was of a “very poor standard”. The mums also have to share toilets and bathroom facilities.
In a council report put before councillors on Tuesday, it states: “Elm Court is currently used as a temporary accommodation hostel for young women and there are a number of single mothers currently housed there sharing bathrooms.
“The existing communal facilities are very poor and not used very effectively for support work. The proposed refurbishment would provide self-contained cooking and bathroom facilities.”
Councillors agreed to rebuild Elm Court to provide 11 bedsit rooms, each with its own shower and cooking facilities. Cash for the project will come from the sale of a council-owned property and support staff will be on hand to prepare new mums to move into social housing.
Concerns are growing in the borough after it emerged homeless young mums often do not know what help is available to them and councillors hope by installing offices and offering a resettlement programme of under two years, homeless young mums will be ready for independent living.
Councillor Jon Hardy, executive member for housing, said: “Early support for young women who have babies is essential – a decent environment and the dedicated care team at an early stage can prevent numerous problems later on. However, being a mother can be overwhelming, particularly if one has not got a stable home, let alone take advantage of services that can help them into training and employment.
“This facility is a major step forward to provide them with a supportive environment where they can get help on health and social issues are equipped for an independent life, and so can eventually be rehoused in permanent accommodation.”
The renovation of Elm Court will be managed by Hounslow Homes on behalf of the council.