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Vulnerable Ilford youngsters to lose home as one warns she may be forced to live in ‘crack den’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:19 07 April 2016

Charlie Roberts, Lavonn Grant with baby Navaeh and Chloe Osborne with babies Bobby and Skye at the foyer

Charlie Roberts, Lavonn Grant with baby Navaeh and Chloe Osborne with babies Bobby and Skye at the foyer

Archant

Around 50 “vulnerable” young people – some only 16 – are worried they could become homeless when their supported housing shuts in the summer.

Lavonn Grant at the foyerLavonn Grant at the foyer

Redbridge Foyer, Sylvan Road, Ilford, which houses homeless youths under the age of 22, will close at the start of July as it is “no longer sustainable”.

Eight of the residents in the building, run by East Thames Group housing association, have young children under the age of four.

They told the Recorder important support staff had left the building since the closure was announced in December, leaving them “scared” and “worried”.

Friends Charlie Roberts and Lavonn Grant said they had been in contact with the council’s housing department since last year to find accommodation but had received little help.

Charlie Roberts at the foyerCharlie Roberts at the foyer

Lavonn, 20, said: “The council can see we are struggling, but we are getting to the point where we think they just don’t care about anyone.”

Lavonn, who has a one-year-old daughter Nevaeh, said she was offered temporary accommodation in Slough, Berkshire, but did not want to move away from her friends and family.

Charlie, 21, said: “The housing department literally said to me ‘you are out on the streets’.”

She added she had not got “any support” from East Thames, and her individual care worker had left.

“I think I might have to live in a crack den if that is my only option,” she said.

“I have been approached by two guys who said I could stay with them if I sleep with them. I am actually having to consider this.”

Charlie said an 18-year-old resident had come to them for help finding somewhere to live, because her A-level exams start on the same day Redbridge Foyer is due to shut.

In a joint statement from the council and East Thames, a spokeswoman said the building was closing because the “large scale approach to providing support and accommodation is difficult to manage”.

She said: “East Thames and the council will continue to work closely with residents to ensure they are able to access suitable accommodation.”

She added it was “increasingly difficult to find local accommodation” and on-site support workers were holding daily drop-in sessions.


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