As an award-winning journalist, author and television presenter, Jeremy Paxman has long been known to tell a compelling story.
But yesterday the Patron of homeless charity Caritas Anchor House listened intently as some of East London’s homeless residents recalled what it was like for them without the support of family and friends, that so many of us take for granted.
Based in Canning Town, Caritas Anchor House helps those without a home to get back on their feet. Over the past year alone, the charity has supported 254 homeless people to turn their lives around and receives thousands of visits from members of the Newham community accessing their services each year.
Paxman, a strong advocate of finding long-term solutions to homelessness, has been a Patron of the charity since 2011. Speaking about what made him decide to lend his support to the charity, he said: “Caritas Anchor House is a wonderful place, providing sanctuary for people who have – often literally – nothing but the clothes they stand up in. Through hard, but very valuable and inventive work, they help people who have obviously been through quite a lot in their lives to get back up and they now have huge ambitions for the future.
“Homelessness is not a fashionable or glamourous cause, but it is a truly vital one. I am glad to have made friends there among the staff and residents at Caritas Anchor House. I admire them all.”
The charity’s work has resulted in 33% of their residents being in employment in the year ending 31st March 2017 – a figure that’s more than double the average of 14% for homeless organisations. They also supported 89 people to move on to accommodation in the community, and 24 people moved into their newly constructed studio flats, designed to ease the transition between homelessness and independent living.
Having lost her home due to depression and substance misuse, Debbie was homeless for three years before coming to Caritas Anchor House. She has since rebuilt her self-confidence and her energy and determination have seen her campaign for affordable housing and complete a work placement in the private office of a secretary of state.
Debbie said, “It was a real privilege to meet Jeremy and show him around our home at Caritas Anchor House. Most people listen to homeless people with half an ear, but Jeremy made us feel really comfortable and was genuinely interested in our personal journeys out of homelessness.”
If you would like to find out more about the work of Caritas Anchor House, please visit: www.caritasanchorhouse.org.uk.
You can support them by donating - simply send a cheque payable to Caritas Anchor House to FREEPOST - HOMELESS, 81 Barking Road, London E16 4HB.
See also: Caritas Anchor House needs your vote - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/33072