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Ilford night shelter to stay open 24/7 through winter after extra funding grant from Mayor of London

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 December 2019

Ryedale care home in Ilford

Ryedale care home in Ilford

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An Ilford Lane night shelter which helps support Redbridge's homeless people through the winter months has announced it will be opening its doors 24/7 from January to help those in need stay warm.

The Ryedale centre - named for the closed care home building it now inhabits - is run by London-wide homeless charity Single Homeless Project (SHP) and first opened its doors last December.

It boasts 32 beds and until now, has only operated at night.

But thanks to a grant from the Mayor of London's Winter Programme Fund, the shelter is set to open 24 hours a day from January 2020 until the end of March.

SHP's Redbridge service manager Melanie Malcolm said: "While the service has been very successful in reducing the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Redbridge, until now clients would have to return to the streets for the daytime hours between 8am and 8pm.

"Having had somewhere warm to sleep and eat and someone to talk to during the evenings, they found themselves wandering the streets until the shelter re-opens.

"This has also limited how much work we could do with them to address their longer term situation."

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Originally winter-only, the shelter was soon extended to an all year round service by Redbridge Council and has since assisted more than 130 rough sleepers.

As well as accommodation and meals, SHP provides a range of support including health checks, support with addiction and mental health, and longer-term housing options to move people permanently off the streets.

The shelter has remained at full capacity since it opened and to date, staff have been able to find "move on" options for 49 people, with 10 more currently on a waiting list.

It is hoped the additional funding will allow caseworkers to work more closely with homeless people during office hours, which might result in faster, more positive outcomes.

Melanie added: "Our ultimate aim at the shelter is to get people out of homelessness for good.

"This means first getting them equipped to move off the streets into temporary housing.

"We do this by working with our other Redbridge Services which include three hostels, a community support service and Housing First housing programme.

"These are people who would otherwise be sleeping out in the cold and be at serious risk of fatality.

"No-one should have to sleep on the streets of Redbridge this Christmas."

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