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Numbers turning to homeless centre rise by a third

PUBLISHED: 07:01 10 December 2014 | UPDATED: 07:56 10 December 2014

Philip Herbert

Philip Herbert

Archant

The director of a charity supporting rough sleepers has warned the “growing issue” with homelessness in Redbridge is putting a strain on services.

Philip Herbert, managing director of the Healthy Living Projects said the number of people registering with it had gone up by a third compared to last year.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Herbert said there had been a “significant increase” in the numbers registering at the Welcome Centre in St Mary’s Road, Ilford.

“Homelessness in Redbridge is a growing issue and there is a real strain on services, especially housing,” he said.

“At The Welcome Centre we have seen a significant increase in the number of clients registering with us.”

Last year, the centre registered 77 clients, compared to 103 this year.

The project provides support to homeless people such as one-to-one advice about housing and benefits.

It also offers hot meals, clothes, showers and a laundry service to rough sleepers.

Mr Herbert said last year the charity assisted 48 people into temporary or permanent housing, compared with just 30 this year.

He said: “In Redbridge, there is not enough social housing or affordable private rented sector units, coupled with this there is a need for more financial support for services like ours.”

His comments come after Redbridge police borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said the number of homeless people in the town centre had gone down from 200 to around 23.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “It’s a massive problem. If we have one person on the streets, that’s one too many.”

He said the council wanted to work more closely with voluntary organisations to help tackle the issue.

“We need to be a lot more supportive of the good work they do,” he said.

“The issue of homelessness is something we want to try and get to the bottom of.”


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