Search

Havering’s homelessness crisis: Young families ‘shoehorned’ into sheltered accommodation

15:58 04 September 2014

Resident Brian Laws outside the flats in Hornchurch

Resident Brian Laws outside the flats in Hornchurch

Archant

Elderly residents are shocked by an “inhumane” and “callous” council decision to move homeless families into a guest room in their sheltered accommodation now that hostels are packed to the rafters.

The two-bed guest room that slept fourThe two-bed guest room that slept four

Residents – some in their nineties – were unaware that young families would be moved into Sunrise Lodge, in Sunrise Avenue, Hornchurch, as was the block’s tenant management organisation, Petra.

But, on Friday, a mother and her three children, aged three, six and 13, were “shoehorned” into a bedroom containing two single beds.

Petra’s chairman, Mike Davis, wrote to Hornchurch and Upminster MP Dame Angela Watkinson to express his disgust.

He said: “I have been shocked and disappointed at the callous actions of council officers.

Residents Brian Laws and Petra chairman Mike DavisResidents Brian Laws and Petra chairman Mike Davis

“It needs to be said that the majority of the elderly residents are sympathetic to the situation these homeless people are in, but housing young people in a complex that has a 55-years-of-age criteria is not a valid solution to an ongoing problem. This is a generation who are frail and many have serious health problems and are quite weary of young people.”

Residents were told by Havering’s housing manager, Jonathan Geall, that the situation would only last for three weeks while the borough’s three hostels – which can house up to 279 people – are full and bed and breakfasts cannot be found.

Havering’s housing chief, Cllr Damian White, has promised an “urgent review” of housing stock so that demand can be met.

He said: “We have experienced a peak in demand for urgent hostel places and have had to take a very short-term, pragmatic decision to place some families in guest accommodation in our sheltered housing.”

Resident June NichollsResident June Nicholls

By Tuesday, the family of four had moved out and it was believed that a single mother with a one-year-old baby were to take their place.

Sunrise Lodge resident Brian Laws, 74, who himself was once homeless and slept in a car, said: “You can’t move a person in like that. That one-year-old baby has got to be fed and there’s no kitchen for them.”

Fellow resident June Nicholls, 68, said: “We are shocked. We don’t want them here. But we can’t do much. We are elderly – we are getting ready to pop into our coffins.”

Read more:

Havering’s hidden homeless problem

Family left homeless after bus crashes into their Harold Hill home

Graveyard sleep-out to fund shower for Havering’s homeless

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:01
We Are FSTVL. Picture: Paul Underhill

Upminster’s We Are Fstvl will return bigger but quieter next year when it opens its gates to an extra 10,000 revellers.

Yesterday, 11:59
Aiden, two, with Matt Partridge (left) and Ian Gayle (right) from Dagenham and Redbridge FC during a visit to the children’s ward at Queen's Hospital, Romford (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Christmas kicked off at Romford’s Queen’s Hospital this week with a visit from local football stars.

Yesterday, 09:28
A street party on Carlton Road for the Queen's Jubilee in 2012

Firefighters were called to flooding in Romford this morning.

Yesterday, 08:23

Traffic is delayed on the M25 at junction 28 following a crash.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

The Interview is about an attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Report found there had been instances of ill-treatment during ‘tactical questioning’, but not deliberate torture or murder.

Sometimes Coral gets these freaky royal bet predications right…

The smartphone maker has gone back to the future for its latest smartphone