Emmaus North East said the flats will provide ‘move-on accommodation’ for people who have experienced homelessness, giving them an opportunity for individuals to progress to a more independent way of living.
John Harrison, community manager at Emmaus, said the flats will allow the charity to help five more people to break the cycle of homelessness at any one time.
The charity can now support a total of 20 formerly homeless people, known as companions, in the area.
“After picking up the keys, we got to work straight away on the renovation,” said John.
"Getting these flats fit-for-purpose has really been a tremendous communal effort from our existing companions. The companions understand that by helping to prepare the flats, they are helping to get five more people off the streets.
"We hope to have the flats ready and furnished by the end of July and we look forward to expanding our community.”
The neighboring two and three-bedroom flats are directly connected to Emmaus North East’s existing community building in Stanhope Road, South Shields.
The majority of the funding to purchase the flats was provided by national charity Emmaus UK.
Emmaus provides companions with a stable home, personal support and meaningful work for as long as they need it.
Paul is one of the existing companions at Emmaus North East who has been helping with the renovations and is set to move into the flats once they are ready.
“I am really looking forward to getting these flats ready for myself and other companions,” he said.
"It will allow people to move on from Emmaus by living a bit more independently, but still being part of the bigger community.”
Amy, another companion who may decide to benefit from moving into the new accommodation, said: “These new flats are a great opportunity for companions. I am fairly new to the Emmaus community in South Shields but it’s great to know that moving into one of the flats could be an option for me when I am ready to move on from communal living.
"The flats are right next door to the community building so I don’t think you would ever feel isolated or too far away from everything.”