Homeless offered route off the streets

SIXTEEN homeless people were helped off the streets after a two-night drive to tackle rough sleeping.

Operation Reach saw more than 40 volunteers take to the streets to offer food, warmth and housing advice to homeless people.

A marquee was also set up in Ilford Town Centre to provide information on the work being done.

Sgt Seamus Hansford said: “The fact that 22 people were approached and 16 given an exit strategy is really good.

“It was really good for us to work with outside agencies.

“We mostly stepped back and were just there to provide reassurance and support.”

Last week, the Recorder spoke to Bilal Ram Sharma, who regularly sleeps on a bench in High Road, Ilford.

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While his future is not yet clear, organisers of Operation Reach stress they are doing everything they can to help people who have ended up sleeping on the streets.