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11th – 15th September

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Secretary of State praises Catholic homeless charity in exclusive visit

Courtesy of Caritas Anchor House

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, has praised Newham homeless charity Caritas Anchor House for their transformative work and comprehensive approach to tackling homelessness.

During a visit to the charity, Mr Duncan Smith met with residents of Caritas Anchor House, which offers a home and support to over 230 homeless people each year in Newham, East London. The residents shared their experiences of homelessness and how Caritas Anchor House was supporting them to rebuild their lives.

Resident Debbie Brown, aged 46, told Mr Duncan Smith that before she came to Caritas Anchor House she had been sofa surfing and hadn’t been employed for 20 years. However, since taking part in volunteering work through the charity, she has improved her skills and confidence and has recently secured a job.

Debbie said, “It was great meeting Iain Duncan Smith – I got to tell him about how Caritas Anchor House has supported me and so many others. He was really understanding and interested in what we all had to say.”

Mr Duncan Smith commented on the transformative work Caritas Anchor House does, saying, “It’s clear that Caritas Anchor House changes the lives of the people that live here. They restabilise each resident and give them the beginning of the start of a new life.”

“Caritas Anchor House is more comprehensive than other homeless charities I have seen. They do more than just offer someone a stable base – they address the reasons why there are there, which is very important, and their service provision covers the majority of elements that can lead to homelessness. Caritas Anchor House is intent on positively changing lives, not just sustaining them as they are.”

“Caritas Anchor House’s process is about stabilising people and then getting them to discover what they do best, concluding in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addictions, or restabilisation with mental health issues. It works very well.”

Keith Fernett, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to show the Secretary of State how Caritas Anchor House transforms the lives of the people who live here, supporting them into employment and to become active members of society. It is a real credit to Caritas Anchor House that Mr Duncan Smith saw us in such a positive light, and recognised the benefits we provide to our residents and society as a whole.”