Monday, December 09, 2019

Tackling Rough Sleeping at Newham Stepping Stones

Today I went on a visit with Cllr Zulfiqar Ali and Cllr Shaban Mohammed to our newly opened Newham temporary assessment centre for Rough Sleepers. The centre is called "Stepping Stones" and is staffed 24/7 and can house up to 20 people and another 5 when it gets very cold.

It is basic but clean, warm, dry and much safer than the streets. Food is donated by a number of local stores and charity foodbanks. Local Charities are also arranging for hairdressers to attend while specialist housing, medical & advocacy services are being brought in.

Some of the residents were previously sleeping in tents at Stratford. We spoke to Council officers, centre staff (ThamesReach) and to residents. All of whom were positive about the centre.

"Stepping Stones" is a temporary fix and not a solution to Rough Sleeping but will make a big difference. Already it has achieved 4 positive "move on's" in the last 2 weeks of rough sleepers being brought from the street to the centre to other more suitable accommodation.

We need a permanent assessment centre in Newham. In the Newham Council budget consultation for the next 3 years there will be proposals for such a centre and appropriate specialist support for it. 

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