An east London homeless charity has celebrated the launch of a new building, including 25 studio flats to help ease the transition to independent living for residents.

Caritas Anchor House in Canning Town provides accommodation and specialist care, including support for mental health, substance abuse and employment issues, for homeless people in Newham.

The facilities were built as part of the Catholic-run charity’s Home And Hope Appeal , which has raised £12.8million of its £15.3million funding target since 2011.

Speaking at the launch event on Wednesday, July 12, the chair of trustees Monsignor 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 us, has shown us that, despite the odds, it is possible to create new and innovative ways to address social need.”

The charity’s move on lead Nur Mohamud, who helps prepare residents for life outside its accommodation, said the key to tackling homelessness in London was to give more support to landlords to encourage them to provide affordable homes.

Nur said: “Everyone knows there is a problem with affordable housing. We have a lot of young people here who are on their own and not entitled to any housing benefit.

“If local authorities supported landlords more, they would offer more affordable housing and we would have more people who could be homed.

Inside one of the new studio flats

“We can always scream about affordable housing but it’s never going to happen.

“There’s enough housing overall in London, but there will never be enough affordable places to live.”

He added: “These new facilities are great. It’s a way to give people back their independence and get them ready to look to the future. It’s giving them hope.”

The charity’s catalyst coordinator Tallatt Bhatti runs group sessions to help residents talk through the problems they face.

She said: “A lot of people who come here think they have mental problems because they have been labelled in that way, but most of them have been through real trauma.

“It’s about recognising that, recognising what has happened to them and looking at ways to move forward.

The launch of the new facilities

“I think the new facilities are going to make people feel valued and accepted.

“It’s an investment in them. It’s not just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the fact that someone believes in them and is letting them know that they have their back.”

According to fellow homeless charity Shelter , Newham has the second highest rate of homelessness in the country with one in 27 having no fixed address.

In 2016, Caritas Anchor House provided home and support to 244 people, and supported 36 into employment and 90 into independent living. The charity also recorded up to 12,000 visits from members of the community accessing its services.

The Home And Hope Appeal aims to provide a home for an extra 50 people a year in purpose-built move-on accommodation.

The appeal also wants to help at least 240 residents and members of the local community gain valuable skills every year, with opportunities like volunteering, education, training or paid employment, and support 15% more people with complex needs such as mental health and substance misuse move on to independent living.

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