Two founders of Shepherds Bush Housing Group, with 170 years between them, returned to where they started the group, to mark the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home
Shepherds Bush Housing Group welcomed back two of its founding members as part of a series of events for Homes for Cathy.
The Rev John Asbridge, aged 90, former vicar of St Stephen’s Church in Shepherds Bush and his curate Wilfrid Wood, aged 80, who went on to become Britain’s first black bishop, were guests at an event to look at homelessness in 2016.
SBHG chief executive, Paul Doe, said: “It was a pleasure to see so many people who care about homelessness and who want to make a difference.
“It was a particularly pleasure to see John and Wilfred back where SBHG began almost 50 years ago. Both have kept the passion they had for making a difference in the world.”
The event at St Stephen’s Church included a Q&A and panel discussion on homelessness in 2016. The panel was made up of:
Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith and Shadow Minister for Housing and London
Cllr Stephen Cowan – leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council
Alison Mohammed – director of services at Shelter
Andy Slaughter said: “Almost all the indicators are showing a real growth in homelessness. Homelessness if not just street homelessness but it is about hidden homelessness.
“It’s about people who are living in entirely unsuitable conditions. Homelessness is on the increase but it’s on the agenda again thanks in part to the film’s anniversary and the newly published Homeless Reduction Bill.
“You can pass laws, you can give local authorities new duties but if you’re not actually resolving the supply crisis, then you are really putting on a sticking plaster.”
Alison Mohammed said: “Things have changed a great deal from 1966 but the human story remains the same. The slums have been cleared, we now have a legal safety net…but the shortage of social housing and insecurity in the private rented sector and unregulated private rents and inadequate benefits for social and private tenants mean the situation is still pretty bad.”
Cllr Steve Cowan talked of the need for genuinely affordable housing and paid tribute to the founders of the SBHG and said that homelessness was intolerable in 2016.
He said: “Everything we have inherited, we inherited because someone went out and fought for it. They built what they thought would be a better world.”