David Gilmour backs Crisis urban village

20 May 2003

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has today given support to a project to develop a new kind of mixed community for homeless people and key workers. The Crisis urban village is set to house 400 residents and is underway thanks to a £3.6 million donation by Gilmour.

The community will be made up of self-contained flats, 50 per cent of which will house people who have been homeless, many of whom have been trapped in unstable accommodation like hostels or B&Bs for years. On-site support services such as employment training, benefits advice and addiction counselling will help these residents cope with more independent living and prepare them for jobs and training. This support network will enable residents to get the help they need but allow them to live their own lifestyle. The other fifty per cent of the accommodation will be set aside for key workers like nurses, teachers and hospital porters to meet the urgent need for affordable housing. They too will benefit from living in a high quality environment with on-site services. Companies will be approached to run businesses inside the building such as cafes or leisure services which will be open to the public. Crisis estimates that 400,000 people in the UK are hidden homeless living in temporary hostels, B&Bs or squats. Many become trapped for years in an unstable life which separates them from society and makes it difficult for them to rebuild their lives. The urban village will be a new way to provide a route out of homelessness and nothing on its scale has been attempted in this country before. David Gilmour was inspired to make his donation after learning about the way a similar community has been developed in New York. “Homeless people end up living on the fringes of our society and it’s time we found a way to bring them back into its heart. I’ve seen what has been achieved in New York and am passionately behind this project which is about providing not just a roof but a new way of life where all the residents can thrive and make their contribution,” said Gilmour. David Gilmour has been a warm supporter of Crisis for a number of years and to pay tribute to the help he has given, Crisis has named him as a Vice-President of the national homelessness charity. “David Gilmour’s generosity has provided a real launch pad for this project and we are immensely grateful for the belief he’s shown. We’re now looking for others to get involved in creating this community whether their input is to find us a site or run a franchised business. Together we can show a new approach to both homelessness and city living,” said Shaks Ghosh, Crisis Chief Executive. Crisis is working with health charity The King’s Fund to develop the community. The hunt is on for a suitable site, focusing primarily on London, which has the worst homelessness problem and the acutest need for affordable housing for key workers. For more information and to view a 10 minute BBC2 Newsnight feature presentation on the issues visit the BBC online news website. For more information contact Naomi Fuller or David Chater in the Crisis press office 020 7426 3832 or mobile 07973 372587. Notes to Editors: 1. Details of the Crisis urban living project are to be announced at a press conference on Tuesday 20 May at 10.45am which is being attended by David Gilmour. For more information or to receive photos from the event please contact the Crisis press office. 2. An estimated 60,000 public sector workers in London will move to jobs outside London or to the private sector over the next decade due to the lack of affordable housing in the capital (London Chamber of Commerce).

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