Rough sleepers in Stroud Green Road get a home in time for Christmas
St Mungo's helps three homeless women at Finsbury Park
24 November, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Mattresses under Finsbury Park bridge
THREE women who had been sleeping rough in Stroud Green Road for more than a year have taken up offers of housing, weeks before Christmas.
One of the women, who calls herself Blue, had been sleeping under the Finsbury Park bridge for two years after both her mother and boyfriend died. The 27-year-old struggled with a drinking problem but was grateful for the food and blankets provided by passers-by. Now she, along with two other women, is looking forward to winter off the streets, thanks to the intervention of homelessness charity St Mungo’s, who have offered places with a supported shared housing provider.
Rough sleeping has become an increasingly common site around Stroud Green Road over the past year, but the council, homelessness charities and police have made progress – six people in total have taken up offers of housing over the past two weeks.
Islington Council’s housing chief Diarmaid Ward said: “We were very, very concerned about these women, especially coming up to winter, and we are really pleased we have been able to help. It shows the great work done by the housing team, working in partnership with St Mungo’s and Women at the Well. This is a chance for a new start.”
King’s Cross-based charity Women at the Well, who support women who have problems relating to prostitution, homelessness, drugs, alcohol and mental health have recently been carrying out joint outreach shifts with St Mungo’s in the area. A new project by the Department for Communities and Local Government, a social impact bond, started this month.
This scheme will work with 12 rough sleepers in Islington, identified as long-term rough sleepers. The council faced criticism earlier this year for removing mattresses and furniture from under the bridge – but stressed they had to do so for safety reasons and that support was always offered first.
Cllr Ward added: “If you see someone new, please report this to Streetlink at www. streetlink.org.uk, giving as much detail as you can on their location and a description of the person to help the team identify them. They will then be visited within 48 hours.”