Homeless hostel to close

PUBLISHED: 12:35 24 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 May 2010

Ridgeview hostel will close next year

Ridgeview hostel will close next year

A HOSTEL for the homeless is to close next year and part of the proceeds from the sale will help finance a new leisure centre. As revealed in the Herts Advertiser in December, St Albans District Council is planning to sell Ridgeview in London Colney, reh

A HOSTEL for the homeless is to close next year and part of the proceeds from the sale will help finance a new leisure centre.

As revealed in the Herts Advertiser in December, St Albans District Council is planning to sell Ridgeview in London Colney, rehouse its occupants and put some of the proceeds of the sale towards the cost of replacing Westminster Lodge Recreation Centre in St Albans.

Residents of Ridgeview were told the news this week. The 67 people who currently live there will be offered one-to-one advice and counselling on their housing needs and the options available.

Fifteen flats are currently occupied by homeless families in need of urgent temporary accommodation and they will be rehoused.

The council will use part of the proceeds to develop a new model of temporary accommodation that will provide assisted housing for a range of needs with more appropriate forms of support and care to enable people to live independently where possible.

It will offer gateway provision where residents can access advice and help and be signposted on to the best permanent provision for their housing needs.

The council admits it is looking to maximise its financial resources and the sale of Ridgeview will help meet the cost of providing a modern facility and replace the leisure provision at Westminster Lodge.

Said leader of the council, Cllr Robert Donald: "Ridgeview has served homeless people very well over the last 21 years but it is now an outdated hostel in terms of its single-room accommodation, shared facilities and the increasing emphasis on supporting vulnerable people to live more independently in the community.

"We cannot offer this better housing and support on this site and in order to fund the new provision and care we now need to close Ridgeview in 12 months time to sell it."

He explained that the sale proceeds would be used to repay housing funds required in the meantime for the re-provision of the existing Ridgeview and new vulnerable homeless residents. The remainder would be put towards the large capital costs of developing a new leisure centre at Westminster Lodge to provide a high-quality facility for the 21st century.

He added: "I want to reassure current residents that they will be given personal one-to-one advice and help by council staff in finding the right accommodation and support package for them in our area or elsewhere if that is their choice.

"This may be in our own existing self-contained accommodation or specially-provided facilities, housing associations or other voluntary sector or housing providers over the next few months."

He stressed that no-one living at Ridgeview would be made homeless when it closed.

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