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Young homeless need shelter in Havering

Campaigners believe Havering is blind to the scale of homelessness in the borough (Picture: Ian Nicholson/PA) Campaigners believe Havering is blind to the scale of homelessness in the borough (Picture: Ian Nicholson/PA)

Thursday, August 7, 2014
2:41 PM

An innovative scheme that places vulnerable young homeless people in spare rooms has issued an ­urgent call for help in Havering – where it has no support network.

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Nightstop, a programme run by charity ­Depaul UK, says it has fielded “a number of calls” from stricken youngsters with ­nowhere to go.

One “young girl from Romford” had to be turned away recently because the charity had no rooms available, said Nightstop coordinator and Rainham resident Kelly Stanton. The 26-year-old, of Gisborne Gardens, added: “Nightstop have received a number of calls from young people in Havering and the surrounding areas, who are finding themselves with no place to go.

“Nightstop do not have any volunteer hosts in Havering or Barking and Dagenham, which means young people will either be sleeping rough in the local area, or having to travel into London for a place to stay which is not always financially viable or safe for the young person.”

More than a third of 16 to 25-year-olds referred to the London branch of the national programme are turned away due to a lack of volunteers. In Havering the problem is pronounced, particularly when compared with nearby Greenwich which has eight spare rooms.

Nightstop’s appeal comes a poll on the Recorder’s website show three out of four believe there is a problem of homelessness in the borough. Havering Council also provides help for the homeless.

Sue Witherspoon, Havering Council’s Head of Homes and Housing, said: “There is no evidence that there is a problem of rough sleeping in Romford. However, if someone is at risk or perhaps knows of someone in need of support, please contact the Council immediately.

“We can provide face-to-face advice at our Public Advice and Services Centre based in the Liberty Shopping Centre. In cases where someone may be in priority need, temporary accommodation can also be arranged as there is always a member of staff on duty, 24 hours-a-day.”

n Visit depauluk.org/projects/nightstop-london or to register your interest in volunteering a spare room.

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