Ilford Hill rough sleeper camp burgeons amid confusion over which council should lead response
- Credit: Archant
A rough sleeper camp in Ilford Hill has been burgeoning amid apparent confusion over which local authority should take the lead in addressing it.
Redbridge Council outreach workers will now visit an encampment on a patch of grass between the River Roding and the A406 and place its residents into safe accommodation following inquiries by the Recorder.
A council spokewoman initially told the Recorder it would inform neighbouring Newham of the camp abd committed to offer its “full support”.
But a spokeswoman for Newham Council insisted the camp was firmly in Redbridge’s patch, providing a map as evidence.
“This sort of confusion - about which local authority is responsible - can be quite common when it comes to helping people with no fixed abode,” said John Clifton, captain of the Ilford Salvation Army which runs a night shelter in Clements Road.
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“Situations like this highlight the continued need for a very coordinated approach across London so that no one falls through the gaps.
“The shelter at Ilford Salvation Army is ready to help where we have capacity, but we hope longer-term accommodation can be found.”
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The Recorder was alerted to the camp by Terry Day, managing director of iFinancial Systems, whose Caxton Place offices over look the contested junction.
“We are worried from a humanitarian point of view,” he said. “It is not what you expect to see in the UK.”
His colleague, who did not wish to be named, said that six or seven rough sleepers had been spotted living in the complex of around five tents which sprung up around September last year.
Photos from the scene show unsanitary conditions, with piles of rubbish mounting.
The Recorder visited the site on Friday morning but no residents were present.
A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said: “We have no record of anyone contacting us about the rough sleepers but as a priority our outreach workers will now visit the site so that we can get them into safe accommodation.
“In Redbridge, we are working tirelessly alongside local voluntary and charity organisations to support those who find themselves on the streets and address the multiple needs they face.
“As part of our renewed efforts to help those in crisis we are keeping open our night shelter in Ilford which means we have enough shelter places for everyone sleeping rough in our borough, tripling our outreach support and extending an existing programme to help find long-term stable accommodation and provide employment and training advice. “We will also speak to the businesses about the issues they have raised.”
Redbridge Together, of which the Recorder is a media partner, aims to raise £500,000 for Project Malachi and The Welcome Centre.
Project Malachi will see the creation of a temporary hostel for rough sleepers and homeless people made from recycled shipping containers in Chadwick Road.
Support workers from charity Ramfel will provide rough sleepers living in the hostel with immigration advice if they need it.
The Welcome Centre, in St Mary’s Road, helps with providing hot meals, showers, clothing and laundry but also advice and support, training and employment and a nurse-led clinic supporting health and mental health.
Businesses can support by donating money, raising funds, displaying Redbridge Together promotional material or offering work placements.
The campaign is an association between Ilford Salvation Army, The Welcome Centre, Ilford BID, the Ilford Recorder and Redbridge Council.
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate £3 by texting LIFE to 70145 or at Crowdfunder.co.uk/RedbridgeTogether