Redbridge getting rough sleepers off the streets

Redbridge Council has housed more than 80 rough sleepers in a “herculean effort” to enforce lockdown rules.

The council, along with Single Homeless Project, Welcome Centre and other partners, recently added 34 beds to the shelter at Ryedale Court in Ilford.

Rough sleepers have also been housed at Malachi Place, which opened last month, in bed & breakfast and in hotel rooms provided by the Greater London Authority.

Councillor Farah Hussain, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said: “In response to this crisis, our staff and partners 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,

“Thanks to the sheer hard work and determination of our staff and partners, who have all gone the extra mile, we were able to set up a special facility for rough sleepers at the Ryedale Care Centre, where we can accommodate the rough sleepers that need our help.

“This facility is staffed on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, and will enable many those rough sleeping in Redbridge to isolate safely, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sadly, however, there remain some individuals sleeping out and new rough sleepers coming onto the streets in the borough, so there is much more work to do.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone for responding in such a positive way to this unprecedented situation. It’s what makes Redbridge such a fantastic place to live and work.”

Of the 82 newly housed, 24 were placed in accommodation, including one being discharged from hospital, while another 10 were moved into single rooms. 

Another 31 people are now in bed & breakfasts, 13 are in hotel rooms and four have been housed at Malachie Place.

At the Ryedale Court shelter, rough sleepers have their own room, access to a kitchen space and an in-house catering service providing three meals a day.

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, added that he wished to applaud the “incredible efforts” of council staff and that ending rough sleeping was a “personal mission” for him.

He 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.

“When this crisis is over, we will work harder to do everything we can to help support rough sleepers off of the streets of Redbridge.”

If you see a rough sleeper, you can report it online at https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ or call 0300 5000 914.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter