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Pioneering container homes initiative approved
A controversial pilot scheme to house young homeless people in shipping containers has been approved.
Forest YMCA, based in Forest Road, Walthamstow, applied to put 20 'MyPads' on a site in Coopers Lane, Leyton, and a further 10 units at its headquarters.
They will house one young person who is in work and has progressed from needing support from YMCA staff to independence.
Despite some objections from residents in Coopers Lane, the scheme was recommended for approval by council planners and permission was granted unanimously at a planning committee meeting.
Timothy Pain, CEO of Forest YMCA, said the MyPads would test a new solution to youth homelessness, which would allow young people in work to afford housing at a third of the cost of private rental properties.
He added that other providers and councils all over the country would be watching to see if it worked.
Mr Pain said:”We’ve had interest from around the world. It’s either going to be an expensive mistake or a phenomenal success.”
Esther Rainbow, 31, of Coopers Lane, Leyton, spoke at the planning meeting to oppose the scheme because of concerns about noise levels and how the site will be managed.
She said: “It’s a residential road with families and a school at the end. It’s not suitable for the area.
“It’s an untested project and there’s some concern that there’s no management plan.”
Mr Pain said the site was currently used by squatters who caused problems for the local community.
He said: “We will bring life to the site and end the nuisance and expense of squatters.”
Mr Pain reassured objectors that the site would be staffed intermittently throughout the week with a dedicated support worker on site three days a week and 24 hour on call support available from the main hostel site in Walthamstow.
Mr Pain added: “We have had a fifty bed unit in Leyton for over two years and there have been no police incidents in that entire time there.”
Peter Barnett, planning committee chairman, said: “There is no reason to believe these young people won’t be contributing to the local community.”
Mr Pain would like to set up 70 MyPads across the borough eventually to meet the housing needs of local young people.