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Canning Town charity boss and West Ham MP back homelessness bill

PUBLISHED: 18:31 28 October 2016

Keith Fernett of Caritas Anchor House in Newham backs the Homelessness Reduction Bill Picture: Caritas Anchor House

Keith Fernett of Caritas Anchor House in Newham backs the Homelessness Reduction Bill Picture: Caritas Anchor House

Caritas Anchor House

A charity boss has welcomed the government’s pledge to support the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

A bill that would force councils to tackle homelessness through early intervention passed its second reading in Parliament today, with the government promising “full” support.

Chief executive of Canning Town’s Caritas Anchor House, Keith Fernett, said it was the first step toward significant change.

“The bill has the ability to transform the way homeless people are supported in England,” he said. “However, the bill still has a long way to go until it can become law, and so it’s vital that all MPs, groups and individuals who have backed the bill thus far to continue their support and campaign work.

“We must also look at further solutions to tackle the alarming rise seen across the country. I urge the government to build more affordable and social housing.”

Speaking in Parliament today, West Ham MP Lyn Brown said passing the bill would provide welcome relief for her homeless constituents who rely on the temporary accommodation provided by Caritas Anchor House.

“This week I have met some of the people living in Caritas Anchor House and I was really impressed by their resilience and their aspiration,” she said. “One woman entered Caritas Anchor House soon after being evicted following a mental breakdown and hospitalisation. She was on the streets for some time but she found her way to the charity.

“She’s now training to be a youth worker and she wants to take a degree to help her career.

“I met a man who decided that living on the streets was better than living at home because that was the only way he could free himself from the company of family who were encouraging him to take drugs. He is now clean and training to be a tunneller.

“So Madam Deputy Speaker, these people were excited by this bill. They thought it would prevent other people from finding themselves in the same situation. And I have to say it’s because of their hope that I am here to support this bill today.”

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