Redbridge charity chiefs welcome council leader’s homelessness pledge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:51 01 September 2016

The launch of the pride in redbridge campaign at Valentines Mansion.
The council leader Jas Athwal,

The launch of the pride in redbridge campaign at Valentines Mansion. The council leader Jas Athwal,


Two charity chiefs have said they are “excited” to work with the council on homelessness after raising concerns over sleeping spots being removed.

John Clifton, from the Salvation Army and Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (Ramfel), arranged the meeting with Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal, after spotting homeless sleeping spots in Lynton House car park, in High Road, being boarded up last week.

Mr Clifton, whose church runs the winter nightshelter in Clements Road, Ilford, said that the meeting had been very productive.

He said: “The meeting went very well.

“We were concerned when we saw the boarding going up and concrete being poured last week, but we are grateful that we could raise these issues and discuss them.

“We are looking forward to working with the council on practical solutions to eradicate long-term homelessness in the borough.”

Cllr Athwal said the council were in a tough position over the boarding up of the car park sleeping spots.

He said: “We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

“That is a spot for anti-social behaviour and we wouldn’t want to wait until something happens there.

“But the meeting went very well and I believe that when you get people around a table, we all have the same aims and want to work together.

“We don’t want to be looking at short-term responses, but we can start working towards long-term measures together.”

Rita described the incident last week as “unfortunate” but said she was pleased by Cllr Athwal’s commitment.

She said: “We are grateful that when John raised this issue, Cllr Athwal was prepared to meet with us and discuss the issue.

“The meeting was very good and in the future, we want to see how we can work together to get rid of homelessness in the borough.

“It is possible to do so, and we are looking forward to working on practical solutions to do so.

“We can absolutely make a difference.”

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