Blue plaques celebrate ex-homeless people helped off the street

Project launched by local homelessness charity to share the stories of the people it helps

A blue plaque dedicated to Poppy, who slept rough in Edmonton for two years
A blue plaque dedicated to Poppy, who slept rough in Edmonton for two years

Blue plaques celebrating people who have been helped out of homelessness are being placed in rough-sleeping ‘hotspots’ around Enfield and Haringey.

Local homeless charity All People All Places (APAP) wanted to “reimagine” the iconic blue plaques which are usually used to commemorate famous people in places where they used to live.

APAP’s blue plaques each tell the story of a former homeless person, with the hope of inspiring the sort of support for lifting people out of homelessness which the charity says is even more vital amid the growing cost-of-living crisis.

The campaign comes at a crucial time, as temperatures begin to drop and more and more people are being affected by rising inflation and household bills.

George Dunstall, chief executive of APAP, said: “Homelessness is a complex and devastating issue. Whether people are forced to sleep on the streets, or have the constant stress of not knowing whose floor they will sleep on tonight, it is vital we’re able to support them in navigating their way beyond homelessness.

“We’re so excited to launch this campaign. It’s about keeping the light on the rising issue of homelessness whilst focusing on the many positive stories there are tell.”

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One person who now has her own blue plaque, courtesy of APAP, is Poppy. She had always worked in the UK but, when Covid-19 hit, her long-term health suffered. She wasn’t able to work and, for a short time, survived solely on Universal Credit. Brexit then changed Poppy’s EU status overnight and the benefits she relied on to help pay rent were taken away – suddenly she was left in a vulnerable position, facing homelessness.

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Poppy found help at APAP, stayed at their emergency women’s shelter. She started regularly attending the charity’s day centre in Edmonton where she was supported in finding work. Her “can-do” attitude helped her land a full-time, stable job which she still has now. Poppy is currently living with a host family while saving up for a place to rent.

George added: “We’re so happy to see Poppy getting back on her feet and can’t wait to help find her a new home. We hope her homeless plaque and all the others highlight the positive support All People All Places provides, inspiring further donations as we try to help more people break the cycle of homelessness this winter.”

APAP’s blue plaques will all be erected by 1st December. To read the stories behind the plaques and to donate:
Twitter @APAP_Services

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