New housing centre for Ebbw Vale
7:38pm Friday 20th December 2013 in News
BLAENAU Gwent is to get a first of its kind housing advice centre after members of the council approved applying for a five-year commercial lease.
Members of the council’s executive approved plans in principle to enter into the lease as soon as the building is ready. The project is part of the ongoing regeneration project taking place in Ebbw Vale. The lease will be held jointly with the United Welsh Housing Association.
The building will be based at 20 Church Street, which is currently derelict. George Adams Construction, which is based in Tredegar, will carry out the works.
The centre will be a one stop shop for frontline housing services and will deal with housing information and advice, help prevent homelessness, help people deal with the impact of the welfare reform changes and more.
A report presented to members said: “Bringing an active public service to this area of Ebbw Vale will build the number of visitors to the street to support existing and new businesses in this area of Ebbw Vale.” The majority of the money needed to complete work on the building is being funded by the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) grant and the United Welsh Housing Association.
The council has already committed a small amount for work not covered by grant aid. Once complete, Blaenau Gwent Council’s housing solutions teams will operate from the building. The aim is to deliver all housing services in the area from the Housing Advice Centre.
The report concluded: “The building will act as a catalyst to attract new small businesses to the street and drive further economic and physical regeneration of the area.” Hafan Cymru, a charitable housing association for vulnerable women and children, particularly those escaping domestic abuse, will rent two rooms in the building.
The council will pay £8,000 a year towards the project, and £37,362 will be allocated from the council’s current housing programme to complete the new centre with IT equipment and furniture.
The council aims to complete the Housing Advice Centre by summer 2014.
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