Campaign to Help Rough Sleepers Off the Streets of London

Campaign to Help Rough Sleepers Off the Streets of London

8:19 AM, 17th December 2019, About 4 years ago 4

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is asking Londoners to give generously to his winter rough sleeping campaign as he announces funding for more beds in homeless shelters than ever before.

Earlier this year, Sadiq announced he was doubling the rough sleeping budget to £19.2m to increase the range of services available to help homeless Londoners. As part of this ‘Life Off the Streets’ Programme we will provide an extra 300 beds every night across London in January and February. This is the largest number of beds ever directly funded by City Hall  and will enable charities and boroughs to boost shelter capacity during the coldest months of the year.

After the success of last year’s fundraising campaign, which raised nearly £250,000, the Mayor is calling on Londoners once again to give generously to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society. TAP London donation points – allowing Londoners to donate £3 using contactless credit or debit cards – have already raised £130,000 for homeless charities and will now be appearing in more than 100 locations over the course of the winter. Londoners will be able to donate to the campaign while doing their Christmas shopping or taking advantage of the many winter festivities around the capital, as some of the new TAP London locations include Rekorderlig Cider Lodge, Skylight ice skating rink and Fulham Winterland.

The Mayor launched his campaign at a new TAP London donation point at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush today. Up to one million people visit Westfield London each week over the Christmas period.

Donations – which can also be made online through GoFundMe –  will be split evenly between the members of the London Homeless Collective (formerly known as the London Homeless Charities Group) – a coalition of 29 charities working with homeless people across the capital.

This winter will also see the launch of Streetlink London, a new website for the capital with dedicated information and resources for Londoners to help people they see sleeping rough. This is the first localised version of the national Streetlink programme.

Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London – more than double the number a decade ago. This is down to a number of factors that stem from the Government failing to tackle the root causes of homelessness – including a lack of genuinely affordable housing for Londoners, welfare reform and cuts to health and social services.

The Mayor has already made a number of improvements to rough sleeping provision in the capital. These include the creation of a new Rapid Response Team, which is now active in 24 boroughs and helped 248 people between July and September this year. All remaining boroughs are being supported through a variety of means to reach StreetLink referrals faster. Meanwhile, changes to the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) last winter meant that as soon as temperatures are forecast to be zero degrees or lower on any night in any part of the capital, council services open their doors to rough sleepers. This policy has continued this year and SWEP services were activated for the first time this winter on November 29th.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The number of people sleeping rough on our streets is a national disgrace, and since becoming Mayor I have made it a priority to do everything in my power to tackle this crisis.

“The generosity of Londoners is well known, especially at this time of year, so I implore everyone to give what they can to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Every year we help record numbers through my winter programme – and while this is a testament to the hard work of outreach workers and shelter staff, it is also a damning indictment of the Government’s failure to get to grips with this vitally important issue.”

Mick Clarke Chief Executive from The Passage, an LHC member said: “The Passage welcomes the Mayor’s winter campaign. The sight of someone sleeping rough on our streets is one of the most visible symptoms we have that something has gone terribly wrong in that person’s life, but it is also a visible symptom that something is not right with society; quite simply street homelessness should not exist in 21st century Britain. Every donation made via TAP London will go to the London Homelessness Collective; a group of  charities working on the frontline to help people off the streets, and working to end the scandal that is street homelessness.”

Katie Whitlock, Co-Founder, TAP London said: “TAP London gives people an easy and impactful way to tackle homelessness. In just twelve months, over £130,000 has been raised in £3 taps from 40,000 Londoners. It would take seven Royal Albert Halls at full capacity to seat all of our donors, or five hundred double decker buses.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Mayor of London for a second year, and to continue supporting the London Homelessness Collective. By working together, we are all helping to improve the difficult lives of many. We are incredibly grateful to everybody who has participated so far”.

John Biggs, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, part of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Taskforce, said: “I am in awe of the commitment of the outreach teams that will be working on the streets of Tower Hamlets and across the capital this winter. The support they provide to our most vulnerable – not only with accommodation but with mental and physical health, addiction and so much more – is invaluable.

“Londoners are facing an unprecedented housing crisis and we know that for many people, the onset of the colder nights marks the start of their most challenging time of the year.

“The additional funding from City Hall will help us to provide assistance to those who need it most. Together we can make sure that as many people as possible are given the option to get off the streets and on the path to a secure home and a more positive future.”

Paul’s Story

Money raised by The Mayors Rough Sleeping Campaign is split between the charities in the London Homeless Collective. The Passage in Victoria is one of those charities. They use the funds to support their Resource Centre and Employment and Training work, which helps people like Paul…

Paul was in full employment, had his own flat and was part of a close nit family. Suddenly all of this changed. Paul’s Mother and Sister died within the space of two months of each other and then Paul lost his father a year later.

Paul started drinking heavily and ended up street homeless. The Passage’s street outreach services met Paul when on the streets near their Resource Centre and started working with him. Paul attended the charity’s Resource Centre and benefitted from art therapy classes. Paul now credits these for the first steps in getting his life back as they allowed him to express feelings that he could not articulate verbally. With support from the team he began to take steps into bereavement counselling and, after much progress was able to move into his own property.

However, on the anniversary of one of his bereavements Paul decided to try to take his own life; thankfully he failed. Our art therapist noticed that Paul had not attended his weekly session, made contact and linked Paul back into mental health services. The team also recognised that for Paul a nightly conversation was important, so staff called him every night just to check in with him.

In September 2017, Paul enrolled in The Passage’s ‘Hotel School’ – a joint project with The Goring Hotel, giving homeless people the opportunity to train for a career in the hospitality industry. Paul passed the course with flying colours and was linked with a mentor to give him support.

Eventually Paul was ready for employment and now works 30 hours a week for a hospitality company. He is off the streets, fit, employed and happy.

Paul says: “The Passage is my second home and has been from the very first time I walked in. Everyone who has helped me is so kind and without them I would not be here today.”

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Jon Landlord

11:16 AM, 17th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

20:49 PM, 17th December 2019, About 4 years ago

If this is successful, will it not just encourage more rough sleepers to make their way to the Capital?

Frederick Morrow-Ahmed

22:02 PM, 17th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jon Landlord at 17/12/2019 - 11:16
Thanks for the link, Jon. Made it super easy

Robert M

22:43 PM, 17th December 2019, About 4 years ago

If they are doubling the homelessness budget to £19.2 million, to provide an extra 300 bed spaces, then that works out at £32,000 per bed per year (£9.6m / 300), which is £615.38 per bed per week. In addition to such grant funding, the residents would be able to claim Housing Benefit to cover the cost of the actual accommodation, so what is the extra £615 pw grant funding going to be used for?

My not-for-profit company provides supported housing (29 rooms) for single homeless people in Sheffield, and we manage to do it without any grant funding (let alone £32,000 per bed per year). We have housed over 500 homeless people so far. Perhaps Sadiq Khan should come and see how it can be done and we could save the taxpayer the £9.6m per year.

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