A coalition of 18 charities has united for the first time and joined forces with the Mayor of London to launch a new campaign to help rough sleepers in the capital.
Alongside the Mayor’s record levels of City Hall investment in services to give people sleeping rough somewhere to sleep and access to the support and help they need, the ‘No one needs to sleep rough in London’ campaign raises awareness and sets out how Londoners can help ensure there is a way off the streets for rough sleepers this winter.
In a new approach, the Mayor Sadiq Khan, has helped bring together 18 charities that have decades of experience in helping people sleeping rough in the capital, to form a coalition – the London Homeless Charities Group.
The coalition offers Londoners an easily accessible single donation point, with all funds generated going equally to all 18 charities to direct vital services for people sleeping rough where they are needed most. The campaign will also show Londoners how they can direct outreach services towards people found sleeping rough.
The Mayor is asking people to donate to the London Charities Homeless Group via a GoFundMe page set up by the coalition. Details can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/help-rough-sleepers.
The new coalition of 18 charities – London Homeless Charities Group consists of:
- Albert Kennedy Trust
- The Connection at St Martins
- Homeless Link
- Housing Justice
- New Horizon Youth Centre
- Providence Row
- St Mungo’s
- Thames Reach
- The Big Issue Foundation
- The Passage
- The Salvation Army
- West London Mission
- YMCA England
The Mayor launched the campaign on a visit to start work on a new permanent hub in Hackney for the No Second Night Out service – a vital programme providing a rapid response to assess the needs of new rough sleepers and give them an offer that means they do not have to sleep out for a second night.
It is expected the hub will be open and ready to help people off the streets early next year. Work on a second hub and a staging post, both in Lewisham, will provide short-term accommodation for people the hub can’t help immediately. Work will begin on site in the spring.
During the visit, Sadiq also announced a major new policy approach to help people sleeping rough this winter. From now on, emergency shelters across the capital will be open on every day of sub-zero temperatures in London, ditching the previous Mayor’s policy of only making shelters available for people when three consecutive days of freezing temperatures were forecast.
Sadiq felt the approach he inherited did not go far enough to help those on the streets and has changed the policy for all shelters run by City Hall. He has also helped London councils to change their policy in line with his new approach – with all 33 boroughs now signed up to open their shelters on the first day of sub-zero temperatures.
A sharper focus under Sadiq Khan has resulted in the rise in the number of people sleeping rough effectively halting for the first time since 2009, but the fact it doubled from 3,975 in 2010/11 to more than 8,000 in 2015/16 means more support is needed and that ministers need to tackle the long-term causes.
During the Mayor’s first year in office, he set up the ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ taskforce – a group that brings together key groups in London to work together and put in place new interventions to help people sleeping rough. With the help of the taskforce, the Mayor has secured £4.2m toward new targeted services, including a programme to ensure the capital’s 350 most entrenched rough sleepers are identified and supported.
It follows a commitment by the Mayor to spend £9m every year on rough sleeping services in London and a £50m fund announced at the end of last year to invest in accommodation so that people can move on from hostels and refuges.
The Mayor is doing everything he can with the powers and resources available to him at City Hall and is urging Londoners to join him by donating to the new coalition of charities and connecting people seen sleeping rough to outreach services, by using StreetLink – a website which sends an alert to the local authority or support service to go out and offer them help.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We’ve already started to make progress in London, but it’s still shocking that so many people in our city feel they have no choice but to sleep on the streets. We must continue to take action because one person sleeping rough is always one too many.
“I know there are millions of Londoners who want to do something to help rough sleepers get off the streets for good. That’s why I am pleased to be joining forces with our new coalition of charities dedicated to this cause, offering a single donation point for Londoners who want to give money to those who need help the most. I urge Londoners to donate and join me in helping people sleeping on our streets to connect with vital services.
“As Mayor, I am investing in services right across the capital and doing everything within my power to tackle this issue. But the government also needs to play its part by providing additional funding so that we can boost much-needed services in London, and by tackling the long-term causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.”
The campaign, which runs for two months, will be promoted on the underground network and supported across the Mayor’s social media channels.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive for YMCA England & Wales, said: “It should be unimaginable that anyone has to spend a single night sleeping rough in this country. Homelessness is the major issue of our time, which is why 18 charities have come together to form the London Homeless Charities Group, bringing together expertise across the sector to end rough sleeping and homelessness in the capital for good.
“It’s a tremendous boost to have the Mayor of London support our first winter campaign, but we now need your support. We know that Londoners care passionately about helping people sleeping rough and through the London Homeless Charities Group, Londoners now have a central point for donations. Together we can offer more support to rebuild lives and make sure that no one has to spend another night living on the street.”
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “St Mungo’s is proud to have provided the No Second Night Out service since its inception in London and, through it, helped thousands of people to move away from the streets as soon as possible. Five years of temporary premises, however, has been very challenging for the service so we very much welcome the Mayor backing the need to get NSNO hubs on a permanent footing.
“The new hubs, in Hackney and Lewisham, will help transform the service NSNO staff are able to provide and result in many more people, we hope, being able to rebuild their lives.”
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, said: “We’re proud that the Mayor of London has chosen to launch his ‘No one needs to sleep rough in London’ campaign in Hackney, where we’ve been working closely with him and St Mungo’s to open a permanent hub for No Second Night Out.
“We’re committed to tackling all forms of homelessness, and we hope that the new permanent hub in Hackney will help NSNO build on their record of helping thousands of people off the streets, transforming even more lives across London.”