Prince William, Patron of Centrepoint, attended the opening of Reuben House, a new development which forms a key part of the organisation’s Independent Living Programme to combat youth homelessness.
Centrepoint estimates that approximately 15,000 16–24-year-olds in London faced homelessness last year, from a total of 129,000 across the UK. To help address this, Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme aims to deliver homes of their own to 300 young people in developments in London and Manchester in the coming years. Doing so will give young people who might otherwise be at risk of homelessness or living in unsafe accommodation the chance to build a better future for themselves.
The 33 new flats at Reuben House will allow young people aged between 18 and 24 to live in affordable housing, with rent capped at a third of their take-home pay. Each resident has to have a job or be in a full-time apprenticeship, and a wide range of sectors are already represented among residents – from hospitality and construction to social services.
The flats are approximately 21m2 and contain a kitchen, dining area and bathroom as well as space to sleep and relax. The housing modules were built offsite in a factory by Hull-based company M-AR before being transported by lorry and put into place in south London. The development comes complete with solar panels, reducing heating bills to approximately £200 a year.
During his visit, The Prince met some of those who have made the development possible, and was given a tour of the site including seeing one of the flats. He spent time with residents, hearing about their experience of moving into Reuben House and how the new accommodation will help provide security and stability to them. His Royal Highness also attended the official opening ceremony during which Centrepoint CEO, Seyi Obakin made brief remarks.
The Prince has been Patron of Centrepoint since 2005. In December 2009, he took part in a sleepout organised by the charity to deepen his understanding of the challenges homeless young people face.