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Furious Finsbury residents want homeless shelter shifted

PUBLISHED: 07:09 21 December 2011

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Furious residents are calling for a homeless shelter to be moved after blaming it for exposing children to drugs.

Neighbours of the facility, in Margery Street, Finsbury, say their quality of life is being wrecked by the anti-social behaviour and nightly noise it brings to their doorsteps.

They have compiled a dossier of evidence against it, which also contains shocking reports of children witnessing addicts shooting up and streets strewn with discarded syringes.

One resident of the Margery Street Estate opposite, who asked not to be named, said: “We have had people shooting up heroin all round the estate and it is linked to the hostel. A kid saw somebody shooting up in the garden and another was asked to buy drugs.

“At night people fight in the street, shout at each other and just make noise coming and going. It puts you on edge being disturbed every night and makes you feel a bit mad. A lot of residents are affected and some say it is destroying their quality of life.

“We support the work they’re doing, we just think this is the wrong place and they should find a better location.”

The 24-hour facility houses 37 beds run by St Mungo’s and an assessment centre managed by the Mayor of London-backed No Second Night Out (NSNO) scheme.

Residents say the problems have intensified since NSNO, which offers help to newly homeless people, was launched in April.

A 40-year-old who also lives on the Margery Street Estate said: “We were not told NSNO was going to take place and we have not been told how long it will last. It’s across the road from families’ homes and it’s clearly not working.”

NSNO director Petra Salva said: “We’re working really closely with residents and where there have been problems, we have been very quick to remedy them.

“But there are lots of issues in that area that have nothing to do with the facility, and the evidence I have seen does not overwhelmingly point to it being the cause.”

Mike McCall, St Mungo’s executive director of operations, said: “We meet regularly with residents to discuss any concerns. Margery Street provides a vital service supporting homeless people and as the temperature edges towards freezing, it is essential that we help people move off the streets.”


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