East London homeless charity marks milestone achievement

Caritas Anchor House steadies hope in a borough where one in every 27 are homeless.


One person in every 27 in the London borough of Newham is homeless – the second highest rate in the country.

Newham itself  is the 25th most deprived borough in England, yet has seen the largest increase in house prices in the UK at 22%.

The borough’s Canning Town ward is the second most deprived neighbourhood.

And Canning Town is home to Caritas Anchor House (CAH).

There, the East London homelessness charity held a milestone celebration event this week – hailed for giving the homeless homes and hope.

The event marked the opening of the charity’s new building, which includes 25 studio flats to ease the transition into independent living for those who have experienced homelessness.

These flats form part of the charity’s Home and Hope Appeal, which has also seen the construction of facilities which will extend its ability to offer services to the local community, as well as those who now call Caritas Anchor House home.

Launched in 2011 with a £15.3m funding target, the appeal has so far raised £12.8m – a tremendous achievement in a difficult climate.

Speaking at the event, the charity’s chair of trustees, mgr John Armitage, said: “To accomplish what we have, in what has been the most challenging of financial times for our country, has been nothing short of miraculous.”

“The generosity in time, ingenuity and the determination of those who have supported our Home and Hope Appeal has shown us that, despite the odds, it is possible to create new and innovative ways to address social need.”

Caritas Anchor House provides accommodation and wrap-around, specialist care for those escaping homelessness.

Support with mental health and substance abuse, exploring employment opportunities and harnessing potential all fall within what’s offered, and is aimed at enabling residents ultimately to lead independent, self-fulfilling lives.

The charity’s approach is holistic to ensure the causes of an individual’s homelessness are addressed.

It has established a range of partnerships so that it can quickly signpost residents to specialist services and ensure the quality and effective of services available to residents.

Acute deprivation is around the charity every day, as highlighted by Elinor Savage of the Greater London Authority (GLA), which donated £600,000 towards the appeal.

She said: “The London Borough of Newham is the 25th most deprived borough in England, and Caritas Anchor House is located in Newham’s second most deprived neighbourhood.

“The borough is also an identified area of high homelessness – one in 27 people in Newham have nowhere to live,” she said.

“CAH’s project was attractive to the GLA because it provides additional affordable homes to meet a significant local need.

“The GLA was particularly impressed with Caritas Anchor House’s aim to provide homeless people with a platform into independent living.

“It’s been a real collaboration to get this project off the ground and it is extremely pleasing to be here today to see the finished homes.”

On the day, guests were able to get a real feel for a resident’s journey through CAH with an experiential tour, which showcased the moving in and induction process, personal development and their education and employment programme.

Those same guests learnt how CAH prepares residents to move on to independent living and were able to view one of the newly built move-on flats.

CAH partners Sarah Agnes Foundation, TELCO (the East London branch of Citizens UK), and Business in the Community’s Ready for Work programme also showcased their work.

While the charity has achieved so much there is still £2.5m left to raise for the Home and Hope Appeal so that the entire building project can be completed as a lasting legacy for the community for many years to come.

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