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Holloway Prison: Charity Single Homeless Project opens winter shelter with dedicated women's worker

PUBLISHED: 15:05 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:21 06 February 2020

From left, deputy mayor for housing and residential development SirJames Murray, Peabody chair Sir Bob Kerslake, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan. Picture: Polly Hancock

From left, deputy mayor for housing and residential development SirJames Murray, Peabody chair Sir Bob Kerslake, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan. Picture: Polly Hancock

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A homeless shelter complete with support services and a dedicated women's worker has opened on the site of the old Holloway Prison visitors' centre.

The Holloway Prison site from a neighbouring rooftop. Picture: Polly HancockThe Holloway Prison site from a neighbouring rooftop. Picture: Polly Hancock

The winter shelter opened its doors just before Christmas and is being run by Islington charity Single Homeless Project (SHP), with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

It serves Camden and Islington and has space for up to 25 people. As well a bed and meals, the shelter provides personalised support from onsite workers, such as health checks, addiction and mental health support, and help with longer-team housing.

SHP is working with the two councils' street outreach teams to identify referrals, as well as exploring options for moving people on to hostels in each borough.

Peabody bought the former women's prison site for £82million in March last year and pledged to open a temporary shelter while it worked on plans for 1,000 new homes.

SHP deputy CEO Toni Warner said: "As well as offering respite at a difficult and dangerous time of year for rough sleepers, these shelters provide an opportunity to work intensively with people who may otherwise be very difficult to reach. It offers them a chance to begin to break the cycle of street homelessness and take the first steps toward recovery and a better future."

Islington's housing chief Cllr Diarmaid Ward added: "The history of Holloway Prison will be familiar to all who fight for social justice. Today, this community is fighting for the basic principle that everyone should have a safe, secure home and support.

"We're proud to have helped secure funding for the shelter, so this historic facility can be used to help support people in crisis and give them the help they need to build a life away from the streets."

Sadiq Khan loaned Peabody £42m to buy the site. A minimum 60 per cent of all properties on the land will be classified as "genuinely affordable": at social rent, for shared ownership, or at Mr Khan's "London living rent" rate.

When the shelter was first proposed Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said it was "absolutely essential" it went ahead.

Camden's communities lead Cllr Nadia Shah added: "Our Camden 2025 vision is that everyone in Camden can access a place they can call home with no-one sleeping on our streets. The opening of this winter shelter is another step towards that vision."

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