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Radical Ilford homeless hostel gets £2.5m cash boost from Redbridge Council

PUBLISHED: 15:44 21 December 2018

Community members walking to the Redbridge town hall for the planning decision on Project Malachi.

Community members walking to the Redbridge town hall for the planning decision on Project Malachi.

Archant

A pioneering homeless hostel being created in Ilford town centre is getting a £2.5million boost from Redbridge Council - enabling it to help more of the borough's most vulnerable rough sleepers.

Decorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonDecorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Redbridge Council and the Salvation Army (SA) have today (December 21) announced they are partnering to deliver Project Malachi – a hostel created from recycled shipping containers on the site of a former funeral directors in Chadwick Road.

The council’s investment will cover the project’s capital costs which, as reported in October, proved to be higher than anticipated.

Maintenance and running costs will be covered by the Salvation Army’s £1.7m commitment plus an additional £250,000 raised in donations so far.

“We are really excited,” said Ilford SA captain John Clifton.

L to R: Naomi Clifton, Mike Broom, Helen Morris, Mankamal Singh, Captain John Clifton, Mohammed Omer, Cllr Keith Prince, and Cllr Jas Athwal, at the launch of Project Malachi, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonL to R: Naomi Clifton, Mike Broom, Helen Morris, Mankamal Singh, Captain John Clifton, Mohammed Omer, Cllr Keith Prince, and Cllr Jas Athwal, at the launch of Project Malachi, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

“This is really setting a new benchmark for local authorities helping to address rough sleeping, particularly those who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).”

Those with NRPF cannot access state services due to their immigration status.

As the Recorder revealed earlier this year, at least 10 people have died homeless in Redbridge since October last year.

Eight of them had no recourse to public funds.

Initially, the SA expected it would be able to provide eight to 10 beds – out of the 42-unit project – for people stuck in this situation.

But now the SA is planning to devote 15 beds to rough sleepers who have NRPF.

Remaining units will be used as temporary accommodation for those staying in B&Bs.

And Captain Clifton added that this number could increase further if more money is raised through crowdfunding campaign Redbridge Together.

“The more money we raise, the more can be directed to help those most in need and the longer the scheme will be able to run,” he added.

Project Malachi is expected to be up and running by summer 2019, having been delayed by unforeseen costs during its tendering phase.

Amid the delays, The Salvation Army is keeping open its winter night shelter, in Clements Road, indefinitely until Project Malachi opens.

And Redbridge Council has opened a second council-run night shelter in Ilford Lane on Monday (December 17).

Between both shelters, up to 60 rough sleepers can seek respite each night.

Project Malachi received unanimous planning permission to exist for five years in May this year.

But Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal has pledged to ensure Project Malachi exists for longer, if needed.

He said: “It is our responsibility, both as a council, but also as residents, to support those in our society who are most vulnerable.

“I am delighted to be able to fund a brand new permanent shelter to prevent needless suffering on the streets.”

He confirmed that the £2.5m cash injection is being drawn from the council’s capital budget.

Project Malachi is also backed by a multi-faith sponsoring committee.

Members include Mohamed Omer, from the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations; Tasveer Singh, from campaign Sikh Support, Pastor Steve Derbyshire, from City Gates Church and Paul Samuels, from the Catholic Church of SS Peter and Paul.

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Redbridge Together

Redbridge Together, of which the Recorder is a media partner, aims to raise £500,000 for Project Malachi and The Welcome Centre.

Your donations will help Project Malachi help more of the borough’s most vulnerable rough sleepers for as long as it is needed.

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 aaron.walawalkar@archant.co.uk

Donate £3 by texting LIFE to 70145 or at Crowdfunder.co.uk/RedbridgeTogether

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