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Dead man leaves contents of house to Canning Town homeless charity

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 23 September 2019

Lorraine Tabone of Lola's Homeless support group. Picture: Kean Mears.

Lorraine Tabone of Lola's Homeless support group. Picture: Kean Mears.

Archant

A man has left a Canning Town homelessness charity the entire contents of his home in an effort to help rough sleepers.

Lorraine Tabone, founder of Lola's Homeless, got the call on September 17 from his family after he died. They didn't want to be named.

"It's come at the best time, because the winter night shelters are opening," Ms Tabone said.

Living in Canning Town, she runs Lola's Homeless out of three garages full of things like clothes, toiletries and food. Getting a house-load of donations is a big deal for the project. The charity started with a single shopping trolley bought by Ms Tabone.

But as the donations pile up, the need for a space to keep it all becomes ever more pressing.

"We are in desperate, desperate need of a building," Ms Tabone added.

"We're literally bursting.

"I refuse a lot of items all the time because we just don't have the manpower.

"We're desperately shouting out for an empty building we can turn into a hub."

She wants the hub to be a place to help rough sleepers, as well as act as a depot.

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"The roads are dangerous now with all the knife crime."

Ms Tabone said she helped a homeless girl near Westfield in Stratford almost four years ago. She hasn't stopped helping the homeless since.

In that time, she estimates she's helped 31 people off the street. Neither she nor any of her volunteers are paid for their work. And it wasn't plain sailing even when the bereaved family got in touch with the good news.

Ms Tabone explained: "The first impression was panic, because where am I going to put it all?

"It's all going to the homeless in the long run.

"I'm just so totally overwhelmed to be honest.

"[Someone] giving me the whole contents of their life is totally amazing.

"I feel honoured that they've chosen me.

"There are so many charities out there, but they know all this goes directly to the people."

She's now working to get all the goods sorted and given to people in need across the borough before the cold closes in. Ms Tabone has asked the man's family to donate his white goods to the charity Homestore, which provides low-cost wares to people in need in east London.

Donations of time and money can be made at the Lola's Homeless Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/LolasHomeless.

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