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Award winning access at Arc Light

The award winning Arc Light Project, a "state of the art" direct access shelter aiming to address the issue of homelessness in York, has chosen a SALTO access control system to provide advanced accommodation management.

First set up in 1999 Arc Light has recently moved, with the help of £1.65 million in funding from Central Government (the Housing Corporation and the Department of Communities and Local Government), to a new custom designed building in Union Terrace, York, where it offers emergency accommodation for single men, women and couples without children.

The new building, which is owned by York Housing Association with Arc Light providing the accommodation service to the homeless, has 39 bed spaces, predominantly single en suite units, one unit with disabled facilities and a number of twin rooms. There are also 4 emergency rooms which are not en suite. In addition to the core accommodation, there are also specialist meeting and counselling rooms, and associated training, education, health, fitness and community facilities.

David Robinson, Marketing Manager of Em-B Solutions Ltd, says: “Arc Light is the flagship project in the Government’s nationwide ‘Hostel Capital Improvement Program’ (H.C.I.P), which hopes to change the face of homelessness. Homeless shelters will no longer be referred to as ‘hostels’, but instead be known as ‘places of change’ to help improve the resettlement prospects for rough sleepers and thus hopefully contribute to a far higher success rate of reintegration into society.”

“As part of this change Arc Light was keen to break away from what had been done in the past and provide each room with state of the art electronic smart locks to provide the homeless client with a sense of ‘ownership’. But also crucial to the specification was time controlled access, so staff could restrict clients from entering the building if they missed a curfew time.”

“As the leading supplier of accommodation locking solutions, SALTO’s Virtual Network technology and Mifare handle set mix was ideal for Arc Light," comments Paul Carr, Area Sales Manager of SALTO Systems. "Working in consultation with our reseller Em-B Solutions Ltd – who subsequently won the GAI / RIBA Architectural Ironmongery Specification Award in the Residential Building Category for their work on this project – a highly secure and flexible access control system was designed to meet all of the requests of Arc Light. This advanced system now provides door level intelligence to control egress for both staff and clients and thanks to its operating smart cards removes the need for keys, thus delivering considerable long term cost savings and removing the need to re-cut keys or fit replacement locks if a key card is lost as it can be instantly deleted from the system,” Carr continues.

The online SALTO Virtual Network controls 60 doors throughout the Arc Light building, covering both staff and client areas. This enables the electronic locks to read, receive and write information via standard issue ‘smart’ cards. Since most access related information is kept encrypted on these cards, the ‘hot spot’ wall readers at the main entrance points are able to update and receive information from the cards at any time. This makes the system easy to use for the homeless clients as well as the Arc Light staff, and provides 90% of the benefits of a hard wired fully on line access control system at a fraction of the cost.

Ramesh Gurdev, UK Sales Manager of SALTO Systems, concludes: “With our ability to customise both the system hardware and software on this project, our solution has added real flexibility to the design of the accommodation management system at Arc Light. And, having just one access control system to control an entire site, with one card and one software package has enabled them to achieve significant cost savings on their security spend.

Email: uksales@saltosystems.com


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Hill Farm, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME 17 4AL
Tel : 01622 745333 email
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