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Keys to the council - Hill Group gifts SoloHaus to house the homeless

An initiative by award-winning housebuilder, The Hill Group, saw that keys were officially handed over for six SoloHaus to Southend-on-Sea City Council on July 7 2022 – the first city council in Essex to utilise these purpose-built modular homes as follow-on accommodation for people experiencing homelessness in the local vicinity.

Joining forces, Regional Director Eastern Partnerships, Robert Jack at The Hill Group and Captain Tracey Bale of The Salvation Army joined the council for the official handover of these purpose-built homes, which will provide much-needed safe and secure housing for individuals to rebuild their lives after a period of rough sleeping.

All associated external works and installation have been finalised by The Hill Group making these units turnkey. The Salvation Army, a church and charity that own and manage the project, will provide ongoing support to residents on their journey to independence.


A philanthropic initiative

The need for safe accommodation for people experiencing homelessness across the UK remains acute, and to this end, the new homes will assist those affected to rebuild and stabilise their lives – a process that is far more daunting to undertake from a hostel or hostel room.

First developed as the housing solution to Hill’s charitable Foundation 200, SoloHaus is a £15 million pledge to manufacture and donate 200 modular homes over the course of five years to charities working in homelessness.

Chancellor Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for housing and regeneration at Southend-on-Sea City Council, comments: “We are very pleased to support this joint initiative which will help people move on in a safe and secure environment.  We are extremely thankful to The Hill Group for making this happen and gifting these six brilliant modular homes.  They are sure to make a huge difference to people in Southend-on-Sea getting back on their feet after facing a period of homelessness.”

“Tackling homelessness remains a priority and during the pandemic, we offered emergency accommodation to many that were sleeping rough. We are determined to continue these efforts and help people off the streets through longer-term support initiatives such as this.”

The gift that will keep on giving 

Specifically designed, fully furnished, and equipped for a single person, these homes are ready to move straight into. Each modular home aims to provide a sleek independent space that is safe and comfortable for residents to transition to independent living in more permanent accommodation.

Built to last for at least 60 years, these homes have energy costs of £5 a week and are designed to Future Home Standards, which exceeds building regulations for energy efficiency and sound insulation.

Andy Hill, Group Chief Executive at The Hill Group, said: “We are pleased to be working with Southend-on-Sea City Council and The Salvation Army to gift the first purpose-built modular homes in Essex.  We designed SoloHaus to aid vulnerable individuals with nowhere to call home and I am confident that this scheme will be life-changing for many Essex residents.”

Systems in the form of a dedicated staff team from the Salvation Army will work with Southend-on-Sea City Council to provide specialist support to enable residents to adjust and settle into their new homes, as well as prevent the recurrence of homelessness.

Captain Tracey Bale, Salvation Army leader in Southend, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our first residents into their new homes in Leigh on Sea. People that are transitioning away from homelessness are often the most vulnerable in society, and here at Malachi Southend, they will be able to adjust to life off the streets, which for many, will be the first time in a long time that they will experience a period of calm and hope in their lives.”

Bale concluded: “Residents will have access to 24-hour support and The Salvation Army is working across the public and community sector to deliver wider support to the local area through our work.” 

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in Leigh-on-Sea, please sign up for the StreetLink service to help them get the support and access services they might need.

For more information on SoloHaus, you can contact Rory Lowings on rorylowings@hill.co.uk.


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