Cllr Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, officially opened a brand-new hostel in Vauxhall today, which will help dozens of rough sleepers off the streets of Lambeth and into safe, independent living.
Martha Jones House offers a range of developments, updated facilities and services, designed to move away from an institutionalised approach and encourage change. People with complex needs and challenging behavior will be able to stay at the hostel for up to nine months, and during this time residents are supported to engage with activities and support services to help them overcome any comprehensive barriers.
Cllr Paul Gadsby, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Housing, speaking at the opening said: “It is well documented that, regrettably, we live in an age when homelessness is once again on the rise, possibly to historically high levels. I could stand here and quote statistics at you that underline that point such is the sheer weight of evidence that has been amassing in the past few years.
“But I will give you one startling fact: nationally, Shelter estimated last month that the number of people homeless in this country is almost the same as the entire population Lambeth: that’s 320,000 individuals without a permanent roof over their head.
“However, while I think we are undoubtedly facing a crisis that is getting worse, I do feel that schemes like this building we are standing in today, demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be like this. If you go back a decade or so, homelessness was in decline because we got our act together as a country and lead a concerted effort to address rough sleeping. Martha Jones is a modern, new way of recapturing that spirit.
“I do want to thank everyone who has made Martha Jones possible, Thames Reach and their staff, as well as Lambeth Council’s officers who have work day in day out to support those in need on our streets. Oval councillors have also been working hard to ensure this project reached fulfilment.”
The building offers three different types of accommodation; self-contained flats, larger bed spaces and smaller rooms, ensuring that it can cater for a much wider range of needs and abilities.
There is space to accommodate cooking classes, activities and education around food and budgeting, enabling residents to learn new skills, lead a healthy lifestyle, build relationships and prepare for independent living.
Health and medical services are available at Martha Jones House, and residents are also encouraged to access local health services in the community to improve social engagement.