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Post letters: Stratford Centre's rough sleepers, bulky waste complaint, support for those moving into care and council house not fit for humans

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 July 2018

Rough sleepers in the Stratford Centre. Picture: KEN MEARS

Rough sleepers in the Stratford Centre. Picture: KEN MEARS

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Rough sleepers are humans too

Jan Finch, full address supplied, writes:

In reply to James McAllister’s letter July 18, regarding rough sleepers in the Stratford Centre, I agree that the council needs to do something about it.

However, this is not so you don’t have to be offended by being reminded that homeless people exist - they should do something about it because nobody should be homeless, particularly not in 21st century Britain.

Do you really feel that people would sleep rough if they had a choice, particularly with the risk of being judged (at best) or abused or beaten up (at worst)?

You don’t know their circumstances, which could be anything from mental illness to not being allowed to move into accommodation with pets, who should be recognised as part of their family.

Also, I very much doubt that anyone enjoys having to beg. By definition, begging is a very humiliating thing to have to do.

Rough sleepers are people, like anyone else, not just an extension of the cardboard boxes they are forced to use for a bed. I often pass through the Stratford Centre myself and had quite interesting conversations with many homeless people in the area.

This can make all the difference to someone’s day, and it would make an amazingly big difference to Mr McAllister if he tried thinking of Stratford rough sleepers as human beings. It won’t lower his council tax, but it won’t cost him anything either.

Bulky waste service criticism

Joan Hammond, Clifton Road, Forest Gate, writes:

Back in June I paid £20 to Newham council to remove two items of bulky waste.

After six days, it hadn’t been collected, so I had to call them to remind them. When they did they only picked up half the waste. I called Newham Council’s call centre who promised “someone would be in touch”. Nobody called. I made a formal complaint. Eleven days later - no response. I called another day and they couldn’t help. We pay our cash (council tax). Then they don’t want to talk to us. But then again, I live in E7; not E20 or Docklands.

Support for those moving into care

Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, writes:

A new, free advice guide from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called Settling into a care home, aims to make the transition of moving into a care home easier.

There are more than 400,000 people living in care homes in the UK, but many new residents don’t know what to expect when they get there, or how to plan ahead for their move.

Settling into a care home, which was written with advice from care home staff, residents and family members, offers advice on planning ahead to help the move go smoothly. The guide includes topics such what to take, questions to ask before you get there, and tips on what to expect when you arrive, as well as advice for friends and family about helping someone else settle in. Independent Age has also launched a free, online checklist at independentage.org/moving-home-checklist. Settling into a care home is free to order and download from independentage.org/settling-into-a-care-home or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789. For additional support call the charity’s helpline on 0800 319 6789.

Council should lead by example

Barry Wellington, Holland Road, Stratford, writes:

I read with interest the most recent edition of “thenewhammag” (no.393) in which the new cabinet member for housing John Gray trumpeted Newham council’s success in dealing with a “house of horrors” in Manor Park.

A council property in my street became vacant when the last member of the family who had occupied the house for 40 years was evicted. Residents in the street expected that the property would be given more than a 60-minute makeover but this was not to be. While Newham’s properties in the street have new double glazed windows, smart new doors and new roofs only one front window has been replaced by double glazing and the rest are either splintered, lacking in putty or the woodwork devoid of any paint. The front path made of concrete, is so broken and cracked that it is a health and safety issue. The interior of the property is in a very poor decorative state.

One councillor has been very helpful and on enquiring was told the council considered the property to be “lettable” and that was the end of the matter. I have had no response from either Cllr Gray or the mayor’s office. I think that this is a case of Newham council needing to put its own house in order before condemning very publicly the inadequacies of other landlords. As a landlord Newham council should set an example and a standard for others to follow.

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