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Competition: Hidden Homeless

Hidden Homeless
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The New Horizon Youth Centre has launched an ideas contest for innovative housing solutions aimed at the large numbers of ‘hidden homeless’ in London

The competition seeks conceptual proposals to transform the surface buildings at the disused York Road underground station into a 560m² accommodation block for up to 28 people without safe or stable places to live.

The Hidden Homeless project aims to identify ‘durable, functional and serviceable’ concepts which could potentially be delivered across several sites in the capital and help the estimated 300,000 currently people living in such conditions in the capital. It is supported by mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow, and John McAslan + Partners (JMP). 

Snow, chair of the judging panel and patron of New Horizon Youth Centre, said: ‘This competition is an exciting endeavour that can truly make a difference. We are looking for an innovative 21st-century response to the challenge and I believe, working with leading architects and the major players in the property industry, that we can make youth homelessness a thing of the past.’

John McAslan, executive chairman of JMP, added: ‘Young people are the hidden face of homelessness, often sofa-surfing or sleeping on buses, in transient housing or shelters. This competition addresses a growing crisis across the capital and represents an exciting opportunity to generate a design for young homeless Londoners.’

London’s deputy mayor for housing, James Murray, said: ‘Almost half of rough sleepers have mental health problems, 41 per cent need help with alcohol dependency and 31 per cent with drug abuse. Creating a safe and secure environment is therefore critical.

‘Around 220,000 people across London are forced to stay in insecure or unsafe places because they have nowhere else to go. This competition focuses specifically on short and medium-term accommodation where these vulnerable people can safely stay while seeking longer-term solutions.’

The call for ideas follows the publication of new Shelter statistics highlighting that while 4,500 people sleep rough on the capital’s streets, an additional 300,000 young people are trapped in a ‘hidden homeless’ situation without stable or safe accommodation.

The contest, organised by Colander Associates, comes eight years after Adam Khan Architects completed a competition-winning new headquarters for the New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross.

Proposals must house up 28 homeless people, feature shared spaces and external open areas, and be fully integrated with private housing or another use which will be expected to fund the scheme.

Judges include journalist Poppy Noor, Pocket Living chief executive Mark Vlessing, Robert Woodman from DP9, Helen Evans of Network Homes, and former New Horizon Youth Centre boss Shelagh O’Connor.

The overall winner, to be announced in late September, will receive £3,500. There will also be a second prize of £1,000 and third prize of £500. The winning ideas may also be considered for future deployment by the project backers.

The deadline for applications is 31 July.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Email: homeless@colander.co.uk

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