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Former care home will be used to help the homeless

Building in Finsbury Park set to be converted to offer beds for rough sleepers

27 November, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

The former care home in Stacey Street

COUNCIL chiefs have backed plans to provide new beds for the homeless by converting a ­former care home.

The building in Stacey Street, Finsbury Park, is owned by the Camden and Islington NHS Trust and has 30 units.

A Town Hall report said that action was needed because of the numbers still sleeping rough: “The flow to the street is still significant and accommodation needs to be available to ensure that these people do not become entrenched.”

The building needs refurbishment work and will not be available until some time next year. Funding to buy it and run the service will come from part of the £66.7m grant ­allocated to the Greater London Authority (GLA) by central ­government.

Hargrave Hall

At the start of the coronavirus crisis, ministers launched the “everyone in” scheme to get rough sleepers temporary accommoda­tion during lockdown.

Under this programme, the council housed 154 rough sleepers in temporary accommodation and 75 of them require “com­plex needs supported accommodation”.

Meanwhile, the outreach project Streets Kitchen has outlined plans to feed people from a stall near Archway Station two nights a week through December.

Volunteers have been granted access to Har­grave Hall Community Centre, in Hargrave Road, to cook meals.

At a meeting on Wednesday, held online using video conferencing technology, represen­tatives from the local area expressed concerns about the kitchen attracting more rough sleepers to the area.

Jon Glackin

But Jon Glackin, who runs Streets Kitchen, said: “I’m afraid there is a big need in Islington and Archway already. For people to come to us desperate for food then they are in a sad situation and the least we can do is give them some nice hot food.”

He added: “There will be six volunteers on the nights. They will be keeping the place safe but also this is an oppor­tunity to give these poor souls some information that could help them.”

He added: “It’s worth remembering that this service is not just used by those experiencing homelessness, we’re servicing guests in hostels, hotels and crowded homes as well.”

The project, which will serve meals between 7 and 8pm, feeding up to 60 people each session, Mr Glackin said.

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