The secretary of state for work and pensions has said Newham homeless charity Caritas Anchor House “is more comprehensive than other homeless charities I have seen.”

The praise from Iain Duncan Smith MP during a visit to the charity, where he met with residents at the organisation, which offers a home and support service to more than 230 homeless people each year in the east London. borough.

The residents shared their experiences of homelessness and how the charity was supporting them to rebuild their lives.

One of these residents, 44-year-old Debbie Brown, told Mr Duncan Smith that before she came to Caritas Anchor House she had been sofa surfing and hadn’t been employed for 20 years.

But since taking part in volunteering work through the charity, she has improved her skills and confidence and has recently secured a job.

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She said: “It was great meeting Iain Duncan Smith – I got to tell him about how Caritas Anchor House has supported me and so many others. He was really understanding and interested in what we all had to say.”

The MP said: “It’s clear that Caritas Anchor House changes the lives of the people that live here. They restabilise each resident and give them the beginning of the start of a new life.”

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“Caritas Anchor House is more comprehensive than other homeless charities I have seen. They do more than just offer someone a stable base – they address the reasons why there are there, which is very important, and their service provision covers the majority of elements that can lead to homelessness. Caritas Anchor House is intent on positively changing lives, not just sustaining them as they are.”

“Caritas Anchor House’s process is about stabilising people and then getting them to discover what they do best, concluding in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addictions, or restabilisation with mental health issues. It works very well.”

Caritas Anchor House chief executive Keith Fernett said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to show the Secretary of State how Caritas Anchor House transforms the lives of the people who live here, supporting them into employment and to become active members of society. It is a real credit to Caritas Anchor House that Mr Duncan Smith saw us in such a positive light, and recognised the benefits we provide to our residents and society as a whole.”