New home hampers provide a warm welcome
27 FEB 2020
Hampers of essential items lovingly prepared by the team at Allchurches Trust welcomed 42 rough sleepers to their new homes in Ilford this week, as a five-million-pound centre to help tackle homelessness in East London opened its doors.
Project Malachi is a joint venture between The Salvation Army and Redbridge Council, and Allchurches Trust has funded the fit-out and furnishing of the 42 self-contained flats that will provide safe and comfortable places to live for people experiencing homelessness with a £24,000 grant.
When the first residents moved in, they were able to settle into their new home with tea and biscuits and a new mug thanks to a wrapped welcome pack that Allchurches Trust had also delivered to mark the occasion.
The new centre has been named Malachi Place in recognition of Malachi Justin, a 10-year-old boy who became concerned about people sleeping rough in Ilford. When his first baby tooth fell out at the age of five, Malachi gave his £5 tooth fairy money to the local Salvation Army, along with a note asking them to spend it on helping homeless people. Five years later, this little boy's dream of a better future for rough sleepers is a reality.
Starting with the tooth fairy money, a further £350,000 was raised from local fundraising and charitable trusts. The Salvation Army topped that up to £2.5 million in funding and running costs for the next five years. Redbridge Council provided the land free of charge and funded a further £2.5m to pay for construction.
Now ten-years-old, Malachi Justin, said: “I can’t believe it has actually happened and we have built a home for the homeless! I’m really happy that The Salvation Army used my money to do this. No one should have to sleep on the streets. Everyone should have a home. I’m still only ten but I know that homelessness is getting worse but this shows there is something we can all do to help.”
At least 15 people have died while being street homeless in Ilford over the past three years. All of these people were known to The Salvation Army and had used the existing night shelter based in The Salvation Army hall. Across the country, rough sleeping has increased by 165% in the last ten years.
Among the first residents moving into Malachi Place will be Frank Wrona, aged 40, a recovering addict originally from the north of England who has been sleeping rough on and off for three years. Since taking control of his addictions, Frank has been desperate to find a place to live and get a permanent job. Frank said: “I just want to get settled and move on with my life so getting a room at Malachi Place gets me one step closer to achieving that.”
Malachi Place will provide year-round accommodation and support for people who have been sleeping rough. The Salvation Army will provide specialist 24-hour on-site support for residents to help them deal with the many issues that led them to sleeping rough, like domestic violence, childhood trauma, relationship breakdown, as well as mental ill health.
The flats were fitted out off site and lifted into position by crane to create the four-storey building. Each flat has a bed/sitting room with its own cooking facilities and private toilet and shower. There is also a bicycle workshop which will open in May, where residents can learn skills to help them find a job. You can read more about Project Malachi here