The York Council has finally an admitted that the former Oakhaven elderly persons’ home will be turned into homeless person’s accommodation.
No external alterations are proposed to the building and internal changes are minimal. Currently the property has 27 bedrooms. The proposal is to change it to 10 one bed flats and 5 two bed flats.
Oakhaven has been empty – apart from some police training use – since it was closed last year.
The Council had talked euphemistically about the buildings being used to “house local families”. It turns out that the flats will replace the Ordnance Lane facility which is being demolished. Those units cater for homeless families and some individuals. Occasionally they have housed teenagers on remand.
There are already two buildings being used to house homeless people in this part of the City (Holgate Road and Howe Hill)
Inevitably there are problems with any transient use. Noise and chaotic lifestyles do not always sit well with quieter neighbourhoods or – in the case of the Front Street area – a recovering shopping precinct.
Most homeless families, of course, simply want to be moved a permanent home as quickly as possible. That should be the Council’s main target.
The Council’s planning committee is being recommended to approve the use of the building as a homeless hostel for up to 18 months.
The Council has said that in 2018 it will build an extra care elderly people’s facility on the site.