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Stroud Green Road rough sleepers Blue and K offered housing – after months on the streets

PUBLISHED: 11:50 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:15 27 November 2017

A makeshift bed under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

A makeshift bed under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

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Two homeless women who had been sleeping under the Stroud Green Road bridge for a year have been offered housing – weeks after the Gazette published the tragic stories of how they had ended up there.

K, who sleeps under the Stroud Green Road bridge after fleeing domestic violence. Picture: Loretta ThomasK, who sleeps under the Stroud Green Road bridge after fleeing domestic violence. Picture: Loretta Thomas

Blue and K, who have asked us not to print their full names, found themselves on the streets thanks to domestic abuse, bereavement and drug addiction, and had been facing the prospect of spending Christmas on the streets.

But thanks to the intervention of homelessness charity St Mungo’s, both women have been offered places with a supported shared housing provider, and are due to move in today.

“I’m nervous, but I’m so excited and relieved,” K told the Gazette through tears.

“I have to thank you for that, because it has taken them a year to notice.”

Blue under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta ThomasBlue under the Stroud Green Road bridge. Picture: Loretta Thomas

K has been living under the bridge since January and Blue has been there since last year.

K told the Gazette the supported housing provider would help her apply for a college place. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “I won’t have to worry about sleeping.

“I can sleep safe. I get so tired that I fall asleep from exhaustion.”

She added she wants to use this opportunity to get away from her drug use, and says she has been open with housing staff about needing help in that area.

Blue's poem. Picture: Loretta ThomasBlue's poem. Picture: Loretta Thomas

Asked what she was most excited about, she said: “Having that independence: my own door, security, safety. Most things that people take for granted – a bed, a telly, a bath.”

Last month K told the Gazette she had fled domestic violence and ended up sleeping rough after an overdose attempt left her in hospital. She said she had been “too afraid to go to services” and “scared of being sectioned”.

Blue, 27, said she’d had her own home in Haringey four or five years ago, but left to live with her boyfriend.

Tragically, he died in 2015, and when her mum died suddenly soon afterwards she went to Haringey Council for help.

She claims the town hall wouldn’t rehouse her, saying she had made herself intentionally homeless when she gave up her tenancy to live with her partner.

She crossed the border from Haringey into Islington as a way of escaping the substance addiction that had dogged her old lifestyle. By the time the Gazette caught up with her she had no ID or documents – something she says St Mungo’s is aware of and will help with.

Asked in October about the allegation it was treating her as intentionally homeless, a spokesman for Haringey said: “There are very strict rules around data privacy and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss any individual’s circumstances.”

Islington housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “For the last year we have been working hard with specialist agencies and charities, commissioning them to join us in helping the rough sleepers in Stroud Green Road. More recently we formed links with Women At The Well to strengthen the support on offer to the women there.

“Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and many have complex needs, so our first response is always to engage with them and offer them the help they need to leave the streets behind and build a better life.

“We cannot discuss individual cases for obvious reasons but I am pleased that so far six people have been helped into accommodation, and countless others have been provided with support including drug and alcohol treatment, emotional support and more.

“It is difficult work but, along with our partner agencies, we will keep offering support and options to all rough sleepers there, even if this is initially refused.

“I would like to thank all the outreach workers and organisations whose dedication and persistence is genuinely helping these vulnerable people.”

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