Stoke-on-Trent City Council is continuing its managed response to support homeless people through the coronavirus outbreak.

Part of this response has seen the authority continue to work closely with the Macari Foundation with Unitas – the council’s housing repairs and maintenance company – working to transform a former warehouse in Hanley into a bespoke new centre complete with innovative housing pods.

During the coronavirus restrictions, residents at the Macari Centre in Regent Road, Hanley have split, with some moving to the Holiday Inn Express in Trentham Lakes while others have stayed on at the Regent Road facility, with social distancing in place.

Now residents are soon to move into the first 12 wooden pods that are being created in a 22,500sq ft former distribution centre some 300 yards further along Regent Road from the Macari Centre.

Work is taking place to convert the building, installing toilet and shower blocks, a kitchen, laundry, staff facilities and upgrading electrical supplies.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Teams have been on site for the past two weeks and are continuing to work really hard to transform a large warehouse space into accommodation to meet the needs of residents at the Macari Foundation now, and in the future. We’re pleased to be supporting this work and look forward to the facilities being completed in the coming weeks.”

The pods are made out of wood with fire resistant coating and roofing and their own closable front doors. They provide eight square metres of floor space, for individual bed and living accommodation.

The facility is large enough to accommodate a further 12 rooms with en-suite facilities, and work is underway to create them. The work is being supported by funding the council has received from government to help homeless people through the coronavirus outbreak and the first 12 pods have been purchased by the Macari Foundation. Support has also been provided by Concrete, part of the Honeycomb Group, which helps homeless people into safe and secure accommodation.

Lou Macari said: “The pods have really caught the imagination of the homeless people we bring in to the centre, and they are really looking forward to the move. We’re now trying to make that happen as quickly as possible. It will be a new start to their life.”

More details on the facility being created will be announced when the work is completed.

For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.

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