I was homeless once, says mayor
A London Mayor who was once homeless herself has applauded a charity’s new initiative to end homelessness.
A reception named ‘A Place to Call Home’ drew attention to the 320,000 people experiencing homelessness in England, and specifically the local crisis in the London Borough of Newham, where one in every 24 people do not have a home.
Held in the House of Lords, it was organised by homeless charity Caritas Anchor House and hosted by Field Marshal Lord Guthrie.
Revealing her personal experience of homelessness, The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “When I was 16, we lost our beautiful family home. Myself, my three siblings and parents lived in temporary accommodation for around eight years, and we spent a period ‘sofa-surfing’ in my uncle’s overcrowded home.
“It took my family some ten years to recover, but the trauma of losing your home never leaves you.”
The charity, based in the London Borough of Newham, was commended by the Mayor who spoke passionately about how the local authority is working in partnership with Caritas Anchor House to help more people than ever to overcome homelessness and get back on their feet. She said: “I want to convey my heartfelt and sincere gratitude to Caritas Anchor House, a formidable charity delivering a profoundly important service.”
Each year, Caritas Anchor House provides hundreds of people with a place to call home, and gives them the support they need to turn their lives around. By providing education, guidance and personal rehabilitation, they supported 262 homeless people last year, of which 45 secured employment and 91 went on to move into their own homes.
Jeremy Swain, former Chief Executive of charity Thames Reach, is now heading up the government’s new initiative tackling homelessness. He said: “We need to end rough sleeping in this borough. I think the good news is that Caritas Anchor House is a wonderful service, which we are investing in directly.”
Picture: The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. (Caritas Anchor House).