The Salvation Army has partnered with a number of faiths and Redbridge council to open and maintain a unique ‘pop-up’ hostel in Ilford. The joint initiative, called Project Malachi, aims to provide shelter, support, and employment to rough-sleepers and people for whom public funds are not available.
Shelter includes a 42-unit hostel, and employment comes in the form of a bike workshop.
Redbridge council has committed £2.5 million for capital development, and The Salvation Army has committed £1.7 million towards running costs. A further £250,000 has been raised thanks to donations from the public.
Jas Athwal, leader of the Redbridge council says that ending homelessness is a major priority; as a result, he’s pleased to be able to lend vital support to Project Malachi.
Athwal said, “We have already opened a temporary shelter in the heart of Redbridge so no one should have to sleep rough this winter, but it is fantastic to work with The Salvation Army on a longer-term solution.”
Captain John Clifton, Officer at Ilford Salvation Army said that the organisation is very excited about the council’s financial contribution and ongoing support. He said, “It is vital that we maximise our resources to help people who have nowhere else to turn, like those with no recourse to public funds. I would encourage people to continue to be generous in their donations as the more money we raise, the more can be directed to help those most in need and the longer the scheme will be able to run.”
Project Malachi is sponsored by several major faiths in the area, and each is delighted to play a role in protecting vulnerable members of society.
Pastor Steve Derbyshire, City Gates Church, London expressed delight at the council’s large financial contribution to the project. He said, “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the other members of the steering committee to see homelessness in Redbridge dramatically reduced and broken lives to be restored to how God wants them to be. Project Malachi is an important initiative while will help in achieving these goals.”
Tasveer Singh, Sikh Support expressed his happiness that diverse groups, including various faiths and the council, have put aside their differences to work towards a common goal, namely, to alleviate homelessness and bring about lasting change.
Mohamed Omer, Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations said that homelessness doesn’t discriminate; it affects people of all faiths and those with no faith. He said, “… it is the duty of society to look after vulnerable people. A community working in partnership with the council to help resolve a serious problem of homelessness – that is Project Malachi.”
Paul Samuels, Steward of the Gospel, Catholic Church of SS, Peter and Paul, Ilford said that Project Malachi essentially embodies Catholic social teaching. He said, “This multi-faith action contributes to unity and well-being in the local community, creating the opportunity to work together to provide independence and hope to rough sleepers presently living on the streets of Redbridge.”
Project Malachi is named after a local boy who donated the £5 he received from the tooth fairy to the initiative.
It is in the last stages of development and doors will open to rough sleepers as soon as possible. Shelter is available at the Redbridge Cold Weather Centre at Ilford Salvation Army, and additional shelter, managed by Single Homeless Project, has been made available. There are now a total of 60 beds available to people experiencing homelessness in Redbridge this winter.