Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Housing and Homelessness in Redbridge

This is a guest post by the Redbridge Faith Forum

Redbridge Faith Forum hosted an interesting, informative and uplifting open forum on ‘Homelessness’, at the Salvation Army on Thursday 13th June. The Deputy Mayor Tanya Solomon and her consort, councillors and nearly 70 participants from all faiths and none listened intently to the excellent panel of speakers.

Karen Shaw from the Housing Dept gave very clear guidance on the role and responsibilities of the local authority and also highlighted some worryingly high statistics on the numbers of homeless in Redbridge. Phil Herbert of the Welcome Centre, John Clifton of the Salvation Army and Mankamal Singh of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha London East outlined the wonderful work they undertake in responding to the needs of the homeless and rough sleepers in the borough. Through them many survived the rigours of the last winter and continue to benefit. They work from their deeply held faith convictions which include the duty to care for those without resources to care for themselves.

Rita Chadha of RAMFEL rounded up the evening with an explanation of the oft misunderstood terms of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. She highlighted the desperate situation many find themselves in. She addressed the many misconceptions relating to preferential treatment of groups in housing, work and benefits. There are multiple reasons for homelessness. Communities in partnership and with the help of a large number of volunteers are working continuously in addressing the needs of the homeless. The evening was much appreciated by those who attended: 'It’s inspiring to hear from the people who put faith into practice ' several commented on the value of work of the homelessness.‘It was a wonderful example of working partnerships between statutory, voluntary and community sections’.

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