Inside James House – York’s newest purpose-built temporary accommodation

Rosie Baker outside James House

James House has been open 2 weeks now and despite some delays to the original opening date, this was achieved during Covid lock-down – quite a feat for all involved! There are now  20 out of 57 apartments occupied.

Cllr Rosie Baker visited last Friday along with chair of the Housing and Community Safety Committee, Cllr Fenton. She was able to meet some of the core dedicated and experienced staff team who have created real homes for people. In fact, we heard that across all York’s council temporary accommodation people sometimes don’t want to leave and any complaints about building or conditions or maintenance are very rare. The managers pride themselves on a good in-house maintenance record. This is a credit to the way the services have been kept in house and not outsourced. The staff here told us they feel supported by senior council officers and members. Apparently this model is not common in surrounding authorities.

It is also quite unique that there is a support worker on site 365 days a year and after 8pm a security guard will be on reception and is therefore available for emergencies or a friendly chat when needed.

Some of the accommodation features:

  • Fully accessible for people who are wheelchair users and need adapted bathrooms and kitchens.
  • There are 2 lifts so this doesn’t confine people with mobility issues to the ground floor.
  • There is a toddler play area and ample bike parking.
  • The rooms have under-floor heating and good storage spaces
  • Everything is designed so that minimal damage or wear and tear can occur and the feeling is that customers will want to take care of their own spaces.

Cllr Baker wishes to celebrate and recognise these achievements and give thanks to the staff and council homelessness service working so well; something which we feel the public do not get to hear about and appreciate nearly enough.

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