A much loved former City of Wolverhampton councillor is to have a new centre supporting the city’s vulnerable people named in his memory.

The vacant Council owned city centre building, Bond House, in Bond Street, will become known as Peter Bilson House - and is set to open its doors in spring 2023.

It is currently being transformed into additional accommodation and a space for multi agency support for vulnerable people and people with a history of rough sleeping. Wolverhampton Housing and Homeless Service, P3, will lead operations.

Peter, who sadly passed away in February 2020, aged 66, was a councillor for the Bushbury South and Low Hill ward, and served Wolverhampton for nearly 4 decades after being first elected in 1982.

He was the Deputy Leader of the Council and as the Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing was a major driving force in tackling the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping in the city. He was also proud to serve as Mayor of Wolverhampton at the turn of the Millennium when city status was granted. 

Peter Bilson House will house 34 units of accommodation, including 6 accessible apartments, to become the location for the Single Persons Accommodation Project. It will include emergency accommodation and settled accommodation units, and provide bespoke, multi agency support for the vulnerable people living in the units.

This approach will allow people to live safe and independent lives with the backing of arms length support as and when required.

Peter's widow, Nicky said: “Peter was committed to his role as a public servant and would be extremely proud and humbled to have his name on this new supported centre. It represents the principles and values he held dear and we are so very proud of all his achievements and the legacy he leaves.”

Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, the Council’s Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, said: “Peter was devoted to the City of Wolverhampton and its people which is shown by nearly 4 decades of public service.

“He played a key role in our ongoing work to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping and this is a fitting tribute to a great man who did so much for the city.

“Peter Bilson House provides a lasting legacy and will help us transform the lives of vulnerable people in our city.

“Here in Wolverhampton we are making real changes to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives. And whether that is through bricks and mortar or emotional and practical support, we want to offer the best we can.

“Working with our partners, we have a clear message that no one needs to sleep out on our city streets. We are determined to tackle homelessness and this new accommodation will further strengthen our homeless support.”

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “This is a fitting tribute for a man who strove all his life to make a difference to people who needed support.
“Peter Bilson House will be a fitting legacy for Peter, who dedicated his life to public service.
“I was proud to work alongside Peter for many years and I look forward to seeing his name on this important new centre which will continue the great work that was so close to his heart.”

The idea for the centre was sparked by lessons learnt from the success of supporting Wolverhampton’s homeless people through the ‘Everyone In’ initiative during the coronavirus outbreak.

That initiative saw partners in the multi agency Homelessness Taskforce pool their resources at one location - a city centre hotel - to safeguard individuals from the streets.

The facility helped more than 100 people either facing the threat of homelessness or who were rough sleeping to successfully move on from the city’s emergency shelter into long term safe, suitable, and sustainable accommodation.

Peter Bilson House will also include security and concierge presence on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, something that was integral to the success of the emergency provision during ‘Everyone In’ and will ensure that the site is secure and residents are safe at all times.

It will also provide for other vulnerable groups, for example women experiencing homelessness or people who are made homeless but wish to find secure employment. The rent and charges will be affordable and will allow people to be in employment, which is not always possible in traditional supported accommodation.

Funding has come from a mixture of council spending and Government grants, with the project developed following consultation and best practice learning from residents, volunteers, staff and partners.

For details on how to contact support services to help those experiencing rough sleeping, visit Rough sleeping

People can also help the homeless and rough sleepers by donating money or volunteering time, skills or products via the city’s Alternative Giving Charity.