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Jeremy Corbyn highlights ‘institutionalised’ homeless problem on visit to Ilford

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 February 2020

Sam Tarry, Jeremy Corbyn and Shaan Ali at Seven Kings School in Ilford. Picture: Roy Chacko

Sam Tarry, Jeremy Corbyn and Shaan Ali at Seven Kings School in Ilford. Picture: Roy Chacko

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The outgoing Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the problem of homelessness in Ilford while visiting a school with Ilford South MP Sam Tarry.

Sixth formers Betsy Echessa, Akua Debrah (Head Girl) and Roy Ille (Head Boy) with Mr Corbyn and Mr Tarry. Picture: Roy ChackoSixth formers Betsy Echessa, Akua Debrah (Head Girl) and Roy Ille (Head Boy) with Mr Corbyn and Mr Tarry. Picture: Roy Chacko

Mr Corbyn praised the work of organisations like the Salvation Army for projects such as Malachi Place to help rough sleepers in Ilford but he said he hopes his successor does more to fix the problem from a national level.

Speaking to the Recorder he addressed the latest figures on the number of homeless people across the country which the BBC estimates are much higher than the official statistics released by the government.

He said: "The numbers of rough sleeping homeless are nowhere near the 5,000 figure the government used to tout, it's actually 28,000 and that's an estimate of course, but just think about this, we're the fifth richest country in the world, no one should be sleeping rough.

Arun Balasubaramaniam, Amrita Kolotia and Rithusaa Anabayan performed classical music for Mr Corbyn and Mr Tarry as they walked into the school. Picture: Roy ChackoArun Balasubaramaniam, Amrita Kolotia and Rithusaa Anabayan performed classical music for Mr Corbyn and Mr Tarry as they walked into the school. Picture: Roy Chacko

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"There are many organisations that do a fantastic job but as a society we are now almost institutionalising homeless shelters and food banks, what we should be doing is ensuring people do not live in poverty by providing decent wages, by improving working conditions and ending universal credit but also providing the housing that's necessary."

He added: "When you talk to homeless people you see they've all had lives, they've all had problems like we all do.

"Most people are not far from being homeless themselves."

Speaking at a visit at the Seven Kings School, in Ley Street, where the council recently reversed its decision to cut special needs funding, Sam Tarry also addressed the housing problem in Ilford.

He said: "We cannot have developments that prioritise huge profits for huge, corporate developers without actually meeting our local housing targets in terms of social housing, and that's a huge issue.

"There are plans afoot to build properties which over the next couple of years can house as many as 10,000 extra people and we need to make sure those houses are not just pushing up house and rental prices, but that they're genuinely affordable for the young sixth formers here, who in five, six years time don't find that Ilford has become an unaffordable place to live or rent for the next generation."


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