• 20/03/2024

Hightown opens housing and support project in St Albans

Martin House Opening Ribbon Cutting1web

Following extensive re-modelling and refurbishment, Hightown Housing Association has re-opened one of its housing and support projects for people who were homeless in St Albans.

Cllr Jacqui Taylor, Lead Councillor for Housing at St Albans City & District Council and Cllr Anthony Rowlands, The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, officially declared Martin House open at a special ribbon cutting event. 

The opening event was attended by councillors and staff from St Albans City & District Council and Hertfordshire County Council, residents, staff and Board members from Hightown; plus, contractors and consultants involved in the refurbishment.

The refurbishment was jointly supported by funding from St Albans City & District Council and from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme. Hertfordshire County Council provided funding for the delivery of support services to the residents.

Following the refurbishment, Martin House now offers 16 modern self-contained studio flats, for both men and women over the age of 18. All rooms are equipped with an en-suite and kitchenette and come fully furnished. The redevelopment of Martin House helps to meet local needs and government priorities to help end homelessness.    

A dedicated Community Hub Co-ordinator facilitates community engagement, within a Psychologically Informed Environment – arranging activities, providing opportunities for personal growth and supporting residents to access health services. They also act as a single point of access and ensure those awaiting supported homelessness accommodation are signposted to services so that they receive support.

Cllr Jacqui Taylor, Lead Councillor for Housing at St Albans City & District Council, expressed her support, stating:

“It was fantastic to attend the eagerly awaited reopening of Martin House. Removing the shared facilities and providing self-contained studio flats is so important in providing a better quality and dignified standard of living. This has been a key project and is all part of the Council’s plans to improve accommodation for those who have experienced homelessness.”

David Bogle, Chief Executive at Hightown Housing Association, said:

“I'm delighted to see residents move back into this much improved building. Going back to the 1960s, Martin House has a rich history of supporting people in the community who have been homeless. The refurbishment means this service can continue for years to come. I am very grateful to St Albans City & District Council, Hertfordshire County Council and the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities for the vital funding and support which made this all possible." 

Jackie Albery, Director of Planning and Resources for Hertfordshire County Council, comments:

“Improving services by listening to residents is a key priority for the Council. The re-design of Martin House has been shaped by people who need accommodation with support; having the health hub will enable people to access health and support services in the same place. The project is recognition of the strength and success of our partnerships, working together to achieve better housing, health and wellbeing outcomes for Hertfordshire residents experiencing homelessness and multiple disadvantage.”

Opening event highlights

Check out a few highlights from the official opening of Martin House.