Homelessness named ‘human cost of the housing crisis’ in Ilford

John Clifton, church leader at the Salvation Army

John Clifton, church leader at the Salvation Army - Credit: Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

Homelessness has been branded the “human cost of the housing crisis” as the row over where to build new homes in the borough heated up.

Redbridge councillors have spoken out after a visit to the Redbridge Cold Weather Centre in Clements Road, Ilford, run by the Salvation Army.

Cllr Wes Streeting, deputy leader of Redbridge Council, said rough sleepers felt “written out of the rest of society”, with many unaware of their rights.

His comments come amid opposition to all four of the sites proposed for new homes, including on green belt land in Fairlop and Hainault, Oakfields playing fields in Barkingside, Ford sports ground in Seven Kings and in Wanstead and Woodford.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott admitted the problem “must be linked to the housing crisis” but said homes must be built on brownfield.

“Housing is not the only reason people find themselves homeless,” he said. “It’s not quite as simple as ‘we need more housing’.

“Housing should be built in a way that helps everyone, rather than taking away green belt from people to play sports on.”

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Following his visit on Monday, Cllr Streeting said: “It’s almost like they’ve lost any sense of citizenship and are not able to ask for what they can have – almost written out of the rest of society.

“We desperately need new homes. If some people really knew the human cost of the housing crisis they would feel differently.”

John Clifton, who manages the centre, said: “The human cost is massive. We do need to build in the borough because we need more housing.”

A demonstration is being held outside Redbridge Town Hall, High

Road, Ilford, over the housing crisis on Saturday between 2.15pm and 2.45pm.

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