A £5 million centre for homing rough sleepers has opened in Ilford, East London.
Malachi's Place is a joint venture funded by The Salvation Army and Redbridge Council. The building is made up of 42 self-contained flats, finished and decorated to provide safe and comfortable homes.
The project is named after the ten-year-old boy, Malachi Justin in recognition of his contribution to tackle rough sleeping in Ilford.
When Malachi's first baby tooth fell out at the age of five-years-old, he gave his £5 tooth fairy money to the local Salvation Army, along with a note asking them to spend it on helping homeless people.
Starting with the tooth fairy money, a further £350,000 was raised from local fundraising and charitable trusts. The Salvation Army topped that up to £2.5 million in funding and running costs for the next five years. Redbridge Council provided the land free of charge and funded a further £2.5m to pay for construction.
Captain Dr John Clifton, The Salvation Army's leader in Ilford, said: "Malachi's donation and note really challenged us to do more for the people forced to sleep rough in Ilford. It is our ambition to see it replicated in other parts of the country."
At least 15 people have died while being street homeless in Ilford over the past three years. All of these people were known to The Salvation Army and had used the existing night shelter based in The Salvation Army hall. Across the country, rough sleeping has increased by 165% in the last ten years.
Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, said: "There is absolutely no reason why people in modern society should be faced with the prospect of sleeping rough. That is why we will continue our efforts to eliminate rough sleeping in the London borough of Redbridge."