Old Harehills house transformed into flats for the homeless after £375,000 renovation by Leeds Latch charity

A Victorian property in Harehills has undergone a £375,000 transformation to become four new properties for the homeless in Leeds.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:45 am
The front of the house after the renovation - pictured: Joe Brown (refurb team manager), James Hartley (Latch CEO), Ryan Jeffers (refurb worker), Councillor Jane Dowson

Leeds Action to Create Homes (Latch) has unveiled the new properties as a bid to help tackle the growth of homelessness across the city.

The "complete wreck" has now become four modern flats - three with one bedroom in and one with two bedrooms.

The project has also provided 10 unemployed people in Leeds with skills to help them to get back to work after having been given the chance to work alongside Latch to complete the renovation.

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The top floor - pictured: Ermias Solomon (refurb worker) , Dave Cook (architect)

These construction skills ranged from painting and plastering to insulating and tiling.

Ryan Jeffers worked on the project as a trainee and has since secured employment with the Latch staff team.

He said: "I’ve learnt a huge range of skills during my time as a trainee with Latch and am proud to have now secured paid employment.

"You would have to pay a lot of money to go to college to learn these kind of skills and it has been amazing to get paid to learn them.”

Pictured: Patrick Fitzgerald (trainee)

CEO of Latch, James Hartley said: "The property was a complete wreck at the start of the project and our team have completely remodelled and transformed it.

"There was no heating or hot water, the roof was leaking and the windows were broken.

"It has now been rewired, re-painted, plastered, thermally insulated and sound proofed.

"All the windows and doors have been replaced and new kitchens and bathrooms have been installed.

"The property has also been fully furnished to provide the new tenants with everything they need to make a fresh new start.”

Latch tenants are supported by the charity to help them turn their lives around as they progress towards independent living.

The charity plans on launching a Community Share Issue in the summer to help raise £350,000 towards the cost of purchasing another six properties over the coming years.

Mr Hartley added: "We are determined to help even more people make a fresh start in life and support them towards independent living.

"The vital funds we hope to raise from the Community Share Issue will help us play our part in bringing some more of the thousands of run down and empty privately owned homes in the city back into use as quality homes for those in need.

"We expect the housing situation in Leeds to get worse as a result of unemployment due to Covid-19 and our work remains as important as when we started over 30 years ago.”

Latch paid thanks to support from Leeds City Council, Power to Change and the Clothworkers Foundation in assisting with the renovation.

Land Aid supported Latch with the provision of PPE to ensure the build was Covid secure.