Published on: April 14, 2023
On Good Friday, HARP, Southend’s leading homelessness charity, hosted Felicity Buchan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Joined by local MP Sir James Duddridge KCMG, staff at the charity, alongside the residents of HARP’s new Bluebird accommodation in Southend, welcomed the Minister for a BBQ lunch and a tour of the new development.
Bluebird, HARP’s new 56-room accommodation in the heart of the City of Southend-on-Sea, is comprised of three renovated properties, alongside a terrace of six brand-new houses built to environmentally friendly Passivhaus standards.
The property significantly expands the availability of affordable supported housing for local people affected by homelessness and is a considerable step towards achieving the charity’s vision of a City where no one is forced to sleep rough on the streets.
HARP, who believes everyone should have a safe place to call home, was delighted to welcome the guests to show what is possible when a vision for high-quality accommodation is paired with the right funding and political will.
Vanessa Hemmings, HARP’s Chief Executive, said: “Bluebird really is unique – thanks to HARP’s vision and a lot of hard work, we have built an incredibly high standard of supported accommodation that is available to people who are recovering from homelessness. To my knowledge, there is nothing quite like this in the country, and the residents have already told us how life-changing it is to have a safe, secure, high-quality house to call home, as they take steps towards leaving homelessness behind for good.”
Felicity Buchan MP said: “HARP is doing amazing things with Bluebird, and it was a privilege to visit the site on Friday. The project sets an excellent standard for Supported Housing, and this shows how happy the residents are to live there. I want to pay tribute to HARP’s hard work that has gone into making this such a fantastic, and unique, project.”
Sir James Duddridge KCMG MP said: “I was impressed by what HARP has delivered and is continuing to deliver with Bluebird, and I hope that the project sets a new standard for supported accommodation. From my visit, it was clear to me just how life-changing Bluebird is for residents as they receive the support they need to take the final steps to get back on their feet once again.”
HARP’s Bluebird Appeal is ongoing, with the charity aiming to raise £175k in public donations to support the project. Find out more at www.harpsouthend.org.uk/bluebird-appeal