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Homeless families to be housed at former RAF Coltishall officers’ mess

PUBLISHED: 11:38 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 17 April 2020

New look bedrooms at the old Officers' Mess building at the former RAF Coltishall
Picture: Neil Perry

New look bedrooms at the old Officers' Mess building at the former RAF Coltishall Picture: Neil Perry

Archant

A former RAF site will be used to house homeless people during the coronavirus lockdown.

Four families and 14 individuals will be housed in rooms at the former officers’ mess at RAF Coltishall from next week.

Residents in the Broadland Council half of the village have been informed by letter and the council said those in the North Norfolk District Council part would be informed before people move in.

The letter states: “We have a higher number of people in need than usual. We will be using 20 rooms to house 18 households.

“[Everyone] has been displaced due to the Covid-19 outbreak through no fault of their own.

The entrance to the former Officers' Mess at RAF Coltishall.The entrance to the former Officers' Mess at RAF Coltishall.

“We want to thank you for your help making them feel welcome.”

READ MORE: Temporary mortuary in former RAF base hangar as Norfolk coronavirus deaths set to rise

Broadland Council’s director of place, Phil Courtier, said: “This is only for a short period of time. The residents themselves do not pose any risk. There would be more concerns if we put people in substandard accommodation.”

Some Broadland and South Norfolk residents who are being housed in bed and breakfasts are among those who will be relocated to the 20 rooms the council has rented at RAF Coltishall.

One of the bedrooms at the Officers' Mess building at the former RAF Coltishall
Picture: Neil PerryOne of the bedrooms at the Officers' Mess building at the former RAF Coltishall Picture: Neil Perry

Mr Coultier also confirmed that none of the people being offered housing were part of the government’s coronavirus prison early release scheme, but were people who had previously been housed elsewhere by the council and said: “It’s vital in our fight against the spread of the virus that no-one should face a lack of suitable accommodation.”

The site is owned by Cromwell, a charity which runs religious retreats, and they will provide food and supplies to the residents, who will each have a housing officer for additional support.

READ MORE: Anger and sadness as homeless man dies in city centre

Mr Courtier said: “It is our duty to find suitable accommodation for people who have nowhere else to live. We will do everything we can to make sure that these men, women and children have a safe place to stay.”

The council confirmed everyone would be provided with long term accommodation after lockdown.

Residents will be asked to stay within the site for seven days after moving in, but the council said it did not have the right to restrict their movement and this would be a “personal choice”.

People are expected to move in from the week commencing Monday, April 20, with housing officers arranging arrivals on a staggered basis and between three to five people expected to move in next week.

READ MORE: How are the homeless being supporting during coronavirus lockdown?


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