Since the appeal made by Cardinal Hinsley a short while ago, offers of hospitality have been coming in daily, writes the Secretary of The Sword of the Spirit, especially from working people in the North. Those who make offers of help would be delighted if they could see the pleasure with which billeting authorities in the East End welcome them. Up to date quite a number of people have been sent to the places offered by Catholics: many more will go shortly.
PROBLEM IS URGENT Nevertheless the problem is terribly urgent. I passed the other day through one of the side streets off Whitechapel Road, looking through gaping holes into the little houses. In one room the portrait of someone's grandfather still hung serenely on the wall, in another the furniture, under its thick coating of dust and fallen plaster, was neatly arranged, in another a piano remained alone upright among the debris. The people who lived in those houses are dispersed. Some are in schools, Waiting to be evacuated. Children are often with parties of schoolchildren who have been sent to the country. Fathers are sometimes in digs, sometimes with friends. Old folk are left to fend for themselves, or their family stays to look after them and risks being bombed again.
NO BILLETING SCHEME FOR THE OLD That is the worst feature of the present situation. There is no billeting scheme for the old people, who cannot leave the unsafe districts until they have received a private offer of hospitality. That is why it is so urgent to have more offers for families which include old folk. If possible, offers of houses: but anyway offers of hospitality. And offers of transport—the W.V.S. at 41, Tothill Street, or at Room 101, Poplar Town Hall, would welcome offers of cars.
The local authorities are working devotedly. One officer asked me to call upon him. I asked his hours, and he said " 24 a day—I wish it were 48 1 " Another officer headmaster—works all day Sunday (so do the W.V.S.).