New Housing To Help Young Mothers

Elm Court facility will help teenage mother gain independence

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Teenage mothers will be helped into independence thanks to a new dedicated housing facility.

Elm Court on Chiswick's Spencer Road is currently used as a temporary accommodation hostel for young women. However, in plans announced today by Hounslow Council, the site will be renovated to provide accommodation specifically for young mothers - under 25 - in the borough with one child under the age of two.

Currently homeless young mothers are accommodated at St Margaret’s House, which is also used as a general hostel. The premises are in very poor physical condition and they have to share bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Council officers were keen to identify alternative premises which could be used specifically by young mothers in the Chiswick area.

The existing layout at Elm Court currently comprises 12 bedrooms with shared bathroom and toilet facilities and is in need in of renovation and redecoration as well as general repair work throughout the building.

The new £324k development proposals at Elm court will provide young mothers with 11 good sized self-contained units, each with its own cooking and bathroom facilities, and a large communal room which can be used for workshops and social activities for the residents.

Designated offices will also be on site and will be staffed to provide professional counselling, and other support services, such as Connexions who can work on site.

The scheme at Elm Court will provide young mothers with continuous support for a period of between six months and two years, until they are ready to move on to independent living.

Cllr Jon Hardy, the council’s executive member for housing, said:

"Early support for young women who have babies is essential: a decent environment and the dedicated care team at an early stage can prevent numerous problems later on. However, being a mother can be overwhelming particularly if one has not got a stable home: struggle to cope leave alone take advantage of services which can help them into training and employment.

"This facility is a major step forward to provide them with a supportive environment where they can get help on health and social issues are equipped for an independent life, and so can eventually be re-housed in permanent accommodation."

The renovation of Elm Court will be managed by Hounslow Homes on behalf of the council.

September 10, 2009