This week marked the opening of Malachi Place in Ilford, the first homeless shelter in London to offer accommodation to people with no recourse to public funds.
Words can’t express how proud I am of Redbridge Council and The Salvation Army Ilford because of their work on tackling rough sleeping together, and of all the things Redbridge Labour has delivered since 2014, this is the one I feel most proud of.
The scheme was born when 5-year-old Malachi Justin sent the £5 he got from the tooth fairy to the Salvation Army, with a letter asking them to buy homes for the homeless. This sparked a fundraising campaign that raise another £5m, enough to build 42 units on site. The ground floor of the block will also house the Salvation Army’s Recycles Ilford, providing work and training for several rough sleepers.
Malachi is now 10 years old and his story and the inspiration he brought to this project, is deeply moving. This is a story about faith, social action and political leadership achieving something for the common good. At a dark time, it is a spark of hope for the next generation of leaders.