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Topping-out marks major milestone in creation of new 5million homelessness centre


A topping-out-ceremony has been held to mark the completion of exterior construction on a new 5million homelessness accommodation and support centre in Aberdeen.

Councillor Neil Cooney with John Quinn,Head of Regeneration and Housing Investment outside the new development. City Council Housing and Environment convener Councillor Neil Cooney helped to place the final granite construction block in position today [Thurs 24 July], bringing the phase of major building work, which saw the exterior construction become fully wind and watertight, to a close. This will now allow the interior fit-out to continue.

Aberdeen City Council is working with Kier Construction on the development, which is being created on the site of the former Victoria House, West North Street. The project is expected to be completed later this year.

The new centre will comprise a three-storey block with short-term supported accommodation for homeless people, providing 20 bedsits with en-suite shower facilities. Communal facilities will be provided on the ground floor, comprising a kitchen, a laundry, a lounge and staff accommodation.

A six-storey block will provide 20 flats, ranging from one to four-bedroom properties, for independent living for homeless people in a secure environment.

Councillor Cooney said: "The City Council's services for homeless people are consistently excellent and are making a huge difference to the lives of so many people who have, through no fault of their own, found themselves without a home.

"This new 5 million pound development, which we believe is the only one of its kind in Scotland, will help us to build upon the huge progress we have made in recent years in getting to grips with the scourge of homelessness and will provide first-class facilities to help us to prevent or alleviate the problem."

City Council housing access manager Edward Thomas added: "We are placing a huge focus upon preventing homelessness in the first place and on providing support for those who need it.

"This scheme will allow us to work closely with people who have a range of underlying issues to address and help prepare them so that they are ready to keep a tenancy. Developing modern accommodation in a handy city-centre location will benefit service users and also cut our costs on bed-and-breakfast provision."

Managing director of Kier Construction's Scotland and north-east England business, Brian McQuade, commented: "This is an important day for everyone involved in the planning and the construction of Victoria House. We are proud to be working with Aberdeen City Council on such a significant project, one which will prove life-changing for the homeless, and which has already created local jobs for local people. We anticipate that at its peak 80% of those employed in the construction will have come from the local area - that's great news for the city."