"Not just a hostel, but a place to call home."
Where is our supported housing?
Portland House is situated in the High Street, Newmarket, a few minutes from the town centre shops and on the main bus routes to Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge.
Hypher House, at 28a Park Lane is within a few minutes walk of the High Street.
What is the accommodation like?
Portland House is comprised of three terraced houses: Portland, Cranworth and Windsor Houses at 186-188 and 184 High Street. There are now nineteen bed sitting rooms of varying sizes with shared showers & toilets.
The large kitchen is fully equipped with cookers, microwave, fridge/freeze and washing and drying facilities. Cranworth House at 186 contains the Open Door office and staff overnight accommodation.
Hypher House is a five bed-sit house with a shared kitchen/diner and bathroom with a resident caretaker.
Portland House (left), Cranworth House (centre),
Windsor House (right)
Who can apply?
Single people aged 16 to 24 are eligible with priority given to local applicants with connections to Newmarket and the Forest Heath and East Cambridgeshire District Council areas. However, the accommodation is not exclusive to those with a local connection and applicants from elsewhere have been successful if a need is demonstrated.
How to apply?
The accommodation is not direct access. Applications are submitted through the HRS Portal for 15 rooms funded by Housing Related Support from Suffolk County Council for the 16-21 age range. A further nine rooms are available for those 16-24. and applications are made ditect to Open Door at Portland House.
Supported referrals are welcomed from family members or social welfare organisations such as the local councils including Social Services, Youth Support Services, National Children’s Homes, Probation and other charities.
The Accommodation Manager or Deputy interview all applicants to assess suitability, taking into account their experience and need for support, current housing, if any, and future aspirations. Considerations are given to the mix of residents to maintain a peaceful environment but this is not to exclude those who have had a difficult past; rather to give prospective applicants a second or third chance.
How long will an application take?
Vacancies are rare at Portland House but applications are managed in advance to minimise waiting time and maximise capacity. The Allocations Panel is composed of representatives of Suffolk Housing Society, Forest Heath District Council and the trustees of Open Door.
Successful applications are ranked in priority order.
How much is the rent?
The rent is £180.81 per week and includes all service charges such as heating, electric light and water. If a resident is on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) or Income Support then most of the rent is paid by Housing Benefit to the maximum of £163.81 leaving residents to pay only £17 per week. Residents who are in work may receive assistance from Housing Benefit in proportion to their income. Staff give advice and assist with applications.
The support element of the accommodation is funded through a Housing Related Services contract with Suffolk County Council. Additional charitable funds are provided through Open Door.
Residents who are not working are encouraged to participate in voluntary work, helping to raise funds and engendering self-respect through meaningful activity.
What other help is available?
Open Door also provides basic foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, squash, potatoes, bread, eggs, a variety of foods donated by local people and through our own Foodbank. Additional foods are donated from Tesco's, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and their customers.
Each room is furnished and Open Door is also able to assist with bedding, clothing, toiletries and home electrical goods for those in the greatest need.
Open Door is a gateway to other support agencies and can assist with:
- Job searches
- Career advice
- Information on courses and training
- Managing money and debts
- Court appearances
- Social activities
- Applications for move-on accommodation
What must residents not do?
As well as paying rent there are a number of conditions of living at Portland House that are important to protect each resident’s right to the quiet enjoyment of their accommodation and encourage self-sufficiency and independence.
Overnight guests are not allowed and visitors are only permitted from 4pm to 10pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 10pm at weekends.
Alcohol and illegal drugs are banned and the use or storage on the premises will result in the termination of the licence.
Violent and offensive behaviour, physical and verbal, to staff or other residents are not tolerated and will also result in an eviction.
What must residents do?
- Pay the rent.
- Rooms must be kept clean and reasonably tidy. Regular inspections are undertaken.
- And do their own washing up! But as a back-up we do have a dishwasher!
Why do we do this?
Open Door aims to provide a home for young people, supervised with a light touch and timely and proportionate help and assistance. This can be the second and third chance for some people that may help draw them away from antisocial and damaging activities and encourage self-respect to the mutual benefit of all. It does not work for everyone and may not work first time round but for many it has been a lifeline to a better place. Portland House is not just a hostel: many have been pleased to call this their home.
"When I came to Portland House I had nothing. When I left I had everything"
Housing Application Form
The Suffolk County Council manages initial applications to Housing Related Support accommodation.
Click on the link below to visit their site and fill in the application form.
Newmarket Open Door has fifteen bed sitting rooms for young people 16 to 21, which are administered through Suffolk County Council's Housing Related Support.
Applications for a further nine rooms for young people aged 16 to 24 are made direct to Open Door at Portland House.