Residents from SHP’s Redbridge hostels had the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians ahead of next month’s snap general election. 

Labour MP Mike Gapes and Councillor Farah Hussain visited our Jason Lee House hostel to speak to clients and staff in the morning, with Conservative Councillor Emma Best visiting in the evening. All politicians spoke to the residents about the housing crisis, the upcoming election and why it was important for clients to register to vote.

They also took questions from residents with many sharing their personal experiences and challenging them on the homelessness situation in Redbridge. 

Mr Gapes and Ms Hussain’s visit was also streamed live to our Facebook page to allow supporters to have their say with questions on the Homelessness Reduction Act and local housing issues – the video is still available here.

Speaking to clients, Mike Gapes said: “We need to take a completely different approach to the housing crisis, and recognise that housing is an absolute priority. This isn’t just about building houses, but providing a framework of support such as employment.” 

The Q&A session was held as part of SHP’s ongoing Have Your Say campaign, which aims to empower our clients to engage more in the political process - supporting them to register to vote, and to have a voice in matters that affect them.  

Research has shown that homeless, vulnerable and socially excluded are far less likely to participate in elections, due to both practical barriers, and to disillusionment and feeling like their opinions do not count.

Lou Holland, manager of SHP’s Redbridge hostels, said: “We were delighted that Mr. Gapes, Ms. Hussain and Ms. Best visited Jason Lee House and listened to our clients’ stories and questions. Events like these are key to increasing engagement and understanding for our clients, who often feel ignored by politicians.”

SHP will be inviting other politicians to visit our services over the coming weeks. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Monday 22 May.