Hightown is celebrating a special milestone after delivering its 8,000th affordable home, within its Whippendell development in Watford.
The development delivers a total of 81 affordable properties, which will house people nominated by Watford Borough Council or allow people to purchase a property through shared ownership.
Jon, an ex-Army veteran, was delighted when he was told he would be moving into Hightown’s 8,000th home. His new flat is somewhere he can start to build a more positive future after experiencing five months of hidden homelessness, following a relationship breakdown. During the day Jon continued to work as a personal trainer and used his gym membership to shower and get a meal, but in the evenings, he had to return to his car to sleep. Single males like Jon make up 28% of households in need of homelessness prevention from Watford Borough Council*, according to government statistics.
The impact of hiding his homelessness from those around him and sleeping in his car through periods of cold weather and then extreme heat during the summer, had quite an impact on his mental well-being. Moving into his new home has made a massive difference.
"I can't put into words how magnificent this is. It's going to change my life. I get to share weekends with my daughter now so I'm a very happy man. It's a little bit different to sleeping in the car. I feel very lucky and fortunate that my new home will give me a platform to enjoy the rest of my life."
The Whippendell development is on a former brownfield site and offers 45 flats for rent for people in housing need, nominated by Watford Borough Council and 36 apartments for shared ownership. The area had been home to an electro-mechanical technology manufacturer for over 100 years, but after relocating their factory to Milton Keynes, the site became available for development. The names of the apartment blocks, Sonar House, Compass House, and Seaborne House reflect the site's history as a place where naval and marine applications were produced.
David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown Housing Association, adds:
"Reaching our 8,000th home is a significant milestone for Hightown and it's fitting that it is in Watford, one of our key areas in Hertfordshire. Hightown has grown quickly to respond to the urgent need for more affordable housing – around 3,000 of our homes have been built in the last six years. We plan to continue to build over 500 affordable homes a year to help people like Jon and tackle the current homelessness and housing crisis."
*Source ONS Statutory Homelessness Annual report 2021-22, England. Detailed Local Authority table.