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Opinion: We need permanent housing solutions

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 March 2020

Ilford North MP, Wes Streeting congratulates those involved in Project Malachi.

Ilford North MP, Wes Streeting congratulates those involved in Project Malachi.

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Congratulations to The Salvation Army and Redbridge Council on the opening of 42 accommodation units to shelter homeless people in the borough of Redbridge as part of Project Malachi.

I would like to commend everyone involved in Project Malachi, especially Malachi Justin who inspired the development by donating his tooth-fairy money to The Salvation Army to help rough sleepers in the area when he was just five years old. As well as captain, Dr John Clifton, The Army's leader in Ilford, and Cllr Jas Athwal, for their tireless efforts in making Malachi's wish a reality.

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It makes me incredibly proud to see my council taking real action to tackle homelessness; Redbridge Council is the first local authority in London to invest in a centre designed for homeless people who cannot access public funds. Project Malachi is a shining example of a well-organised community response to tackle homelessness, and give people hope.

None of this would be possible without the hard work of the Salvation Army volunteers who will staff the units 24/7, and offer welfare support, training and work to homeless individuals living there.

It is imperative, however, that we recognise that temporary accommodation is not a permanent solution to the UK housing crisis. It is now time the government committed to sustainable solutions to this problem by reversing local government funding cuts, controlling rents and building social housing so that charities and local authorities are not left to pick up the pieces.


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