QHA join charities to back new shelter

Quaker Homeless Action has joined with others to set up a new night shelter in a disused factory in Islington

Quaker Homeless Action (QHA) has joined forces with charities, community groups, the mayor of London and local councils to set up a new night shelter in a disused building in London.

According to Katie Calvert, project coordinator and manager of QHA, ‘The Glass House’ project will run for three months in a vacant factory in Islington. The winter night shelter aims to help people with nowhere to sleep in Camden and Islington. It started after a private owner offered the property to community groups to help people experiencing homelessness.

Katie Calvert told the Friend: ‘We are on the steering group, which has meant everything from being involved… [in] discussions about what the space could and should be, to helping to rip down damp ceiling boards during the DIY phase.’

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has contributed £25,000 to The Glass House through his Equipping Shelters project. He said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the local community coming together to transform an unused building into a winter night shelter… I hope other landlords and freeholders are inspired to follow this example and use their empty buildings for a vital cause.’

Volunteers have joined forces to renovate the building, which comfortably sleeps fifteen or sixteen people, with space to accommodate up to fifty when temperatures drop to or below zero degrees and City Hall opens emergency weather shelters across the capital. The group Streets Kitchen and charity Pilion Trust will be on site to provide food and support services.

Camden and Islington councils have backed the scheme, and are members of the steering group, which, as well as QHA, includes Pilion Trust, Streets Kitchen, The Outside Project and Housing Justice. Sam Hadfield, a local community support worker who runs Caris boxing club, supporting young homeless people, is also on the group.

Jon Glackin, founder of Streets Kitchen said: ‘After so many years campaigning to put unused empty buildings back into use to resolve our homeless crisis, we are delighted to be part of this unique pilot project with so many grassroots groups, the local community, and official agencies simply working together to achieve this aim. The solution lies in working in solidarity to assist others, together we can resolve homelessness. This is just the beginning of what we see as a long term solution to ending homelessness.’

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