Catholic charity Caritas Anchor House is hosting a reception in the House of Lords this World Homeless Day, to encourage society to support the homeless charities working to make a difference.
World Homeless Day takes place on 10th October each year, and aims to draw attention to the needs of the estimated 100 million people globally who are without a place to live.
Across England, homelessness continues to rise at an alarming rate. The number of people sleeping rough in the country has doubled since 2010 and increased by 30% in the last year, and an estimated 8,096 people slept on the streets of London last year. Meanwhile, there are a further estimated 400,000 "hidden homeless" people, living in hostels, squatting, sofa surfing and more.
In the London Borough of Newham, where Caritas Anchor House is based, homeless acceptances per 1,000 households are five times higher than across the UK. Rough sleeping in Newham has tripled over the past five years, and those facing difficulty are finding it increasingly difficult to access the support they need.
Caritas Anchor House, a residential and lifeskills centre in Newham, provides a home and support to over 230 homeless people each year, many of whom have complex needs relating to substance misuse, mental health, domestic abuse and offending. By hosting its fourth annual World Homeless Day reception, which is to be attended by 250 high profile and influential individuals, Caritas Anchor House hopes to encourage people to tackle this global issue on a local level, and help stop the escalating levels of homelessness.
The lunchtime event, sponsored by The Global Noticeboard, will be held on Thursday 6 October 2016 and will see speakers Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, ITN newsreader Julie Etchingham, Minister for Local Government Marcus Jones and the charity's Chairman Mgr John Armitage discuss the vital and transformative work of Caritas Anchor House, the importance of working together to eradicate homelessness and the challenges we face in doing so. Guests at the event will also be able to meet with the frontline staff of Caritas Anchor House and the residents that call it home.
"Homelessness and those experiencing it are so often overlooked by society, but as the figures continue to rise in London and globally, this issue cannot be ignored anymore," said Keith Fernett, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House.
"In holding our World Homeless Day reception, we hope to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to do more. It is only through working together as a community, and by supporting frontline services such as Caritas Anchor House, that we can hope to put an end to homelessness."
Caritas Anchor House is currently in the midst of a capital project to expand their facility and service provision to respond to the increased demand on their services. The development will see 25 studios flats for previously homeless people completed in November this year, before construction starts on state-of-the-art educational facilities for both the charity's residents and members of the local community.
Caritas Anchor House's World Homeless Day reception comes shortly both MPs will meet in Parliament to debate the Homelessness Reduction Bill on Friday 28 October. The private members bill raised by Bob Blackman MP, represents an important opportunity to reform homelessness legislation in England and has prompted a very real sense of optimism and heighted urgency across the sector.