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Re-Focus E15 / Repair, revitalise, refocus. “Temporary accommodation should be at least as good as permanent housing” - Focus E15 Victoria Street temporary accommodation, owned by Newham Council, the borough with the highest rate of homeless people in England and where women are most in need, was converted in 1993 to host young adults and lone-mothers. Outdated in facilities and inadequate in its idea of “temporary”, by May 2023 the remaining 60 families will be rehoused, providing the council with a unique opportunity to rethink their offer. Concentrating on women and single mothers, the proposal is shaped around experiences of residents of the Focus E15 Campaign. Born in 2013 by a group of mothers focused on resisting unfair eviction and relocation into unaffordable private rented homes or away from their support networks. By retaining, reconfiguring, and extending the existing building, environmental impact will be minimised, and spatial qualities improved with crucial private amenity and communal areas. Movable partitions, enhanced acoustic, thermal insulation, and mix-use communal areas will facilitate the building to adapt efficiently to fluctuating needs. A furniture bank associated with a recycling make-it-yourself workshop will give mums agency to customise their homes. To alleviate degradation of maintenance and management, we propose opportunities for small-scale income generation introducing outreach activities and rent revenue from commercial units and workspaces. We propose an economic, environmentally resilient accommodation that does not compromise the dignity of the women and children. With safer, more secure, comfortable units and shared gardens, food growth areas, workspaces, outreach nursery and workshops.
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