‘Herculean effort’ to house more than 80 Ilford rough sleepers
- Credit: Archant
More than 80 homeless people were helped off the streets in a joint effort by Redbridge Council’s housing team and charities during the coronavirus pandemic.
The council has developed a range of extra accommodation and support options to make sure there is somewhere for all rough sleepers to stay and be safe, helping a total of 82 individuals.
It, along with Single Homeless Project, Welcome Centre and other partners, recently helped transform the shelter at Ryedale Care Centre in Ilford Lane, to create an additional 34-bed space facility for rough sleepers.
The council’s dedicated team of outreach workers scoured all the known rough sleeping spots in the borough, where they encouraged people to take advantage of the new facilities, where they have their own room, access to a kitchen space, as well as an in-house catering service that can provide them with three meals a day.
Councillor Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: “In response to this crisis, we have been working around the clock to help local rough sleepers get off the streets. This has been a real herculean effort on everyone’s part.
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“Thanks to the sheer hard work and determination of our staff and partners, who have all gone the extra mile” they were able to set up the special facility for rough sleepers at the Ryedale Care Centre.
“This facility is staffed on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, and will enable many of those rough sleeping in Redbridge to isolate safely.”
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As a result of the outreach, 24 were provided with accommodation as well as an additional rough sleeper, who was discharged from hospital.
A further 10 people were moved into single rooms and 31 have been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation.
Four people have been housed at Malachi Place, the innovative shelter from the council and Salvation Army, which opened in March right before the pandemic hit.
The remaining 13 rough sleepers have been accommodated in hotels provided by the Greater London Authority.
However Cllr Hussain added there remain some people sleeping out as well as new rough sleepers coming onto the streets in the borough, so there is much more work to do.
Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough.
“We’ve been working for years to end rough sleeping in Redbridge, opening new hostels and encouraging local rough sleepers to come off of the streets.
“It has not always been easy, and due to a range of reasons including substance addiction and mental health, there remain rough sleepers who do not wish to move to shelters, however, during this pandemic, it has become essential to persuade them to come inside and stay safe.”
He pledged that when the crisis is over, the council will do everything it can to help support rough sleepers off of the streets of Redbridge.
He added: “Ending rough sleeping is a personal mission for me, we all deserve a safe place to stay, a hot meal and help and advice to turn our lives around – and that is exactly what we want to offer all rough sleepers in Redbridge, now and in the future.”
If you see a rough sleeper, you can notify https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ or call 0300 5000 914.
The council will arrange for a local outreach officer to visit and help.