Extra homes bought for Canvey outpost for Charedim


The embryonic Charedi community of Canvey Island in Essex has received a boost with the decision of the Agudas Israel Housing Association to buy properties in the area.

The first settlers from Stamford Hill set up home in the estuary town nearly a year ago.

Joel Friedman, one of the pioneers, said 14 Orthodox Jewish families were living there, with another 24 houses purchased for others to move into. A former school site serves as an educational and communal centre.

Now Ita Symons, chief executive of the AIHA, has confirmed it is in the process of buying five houses in the area.

Mrs Symons conceded that a year ago, she had been “dubious” about the practicality of groups moving out of Stamford Hill.

“But I’ve turned 360 degrees,” she said. “I’ve visited Canvey Island twice and I’ve been very impressed.”

She attributed her change of heart to a number of factors, among them that Hackney Council was “not interested” in helping the Charedi community to expand locally. Grants for affordable housing from the Greater London Authority were worth a fraction of what they used to be.

House prices of £1 million-plus in Hackney were beyond the reach of many families.“I am now trying to encourage families who desperately need good quality, affordable housing to do something I wouldn’t have thought possible 18 months ago,” Mrs Symons said.

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