Tuesday 5th June 2018

  • 18 charities to get over £10,000 each
  • Referrals to StreetLink reached highest level on record since start of campaign – up almost 45 per cent compared to equivalent period last year

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has praised Londoners for their help in connecting more rough sleepers with services in the capital than ever before, and for their generosity in donating almost £200,000 towards his ‘No one needs to sleep rough in London’ campaign.

The campaign, which began in December 2017, brought a coalition of 18 homelessness charities together through a single donation point. The money raised will be divided equally between the charities, meaning each one will benefit from more than £10,000 towards vital services.

The Mayor’s campaign also encouraged Londoners to let homelessness services know about rough sleepers they are concerned about through a simple app, ‘StreetLink’. Since the start of the campaign, Londoners have made 8,516 referrals through StreetLink – the highest level on record, up almost 45 per cent from 5,892 referrals over the equivalent period last year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Even one person sleeping rough on our streets is one too many, and it’s been incredible to see how much Londoners want to help tackle this problem. They have helped connect more rough sleepers than ever before with services in the capital, and their huge generosity will make a huge difference, with the £197,254 raised going to charities working tirelessly to help those in desperate need.

“I continue to do everything I can to make sure there is a route off the streets for every rough sleeper in London, from funding outreach services to opening emergency shelters every night the temperature drops below zero. But I cannot do it alone. This campaign has shown what a difference we can make when we all work together, and the Government needs to go much further in giving us the resources we need to help rough sleepers, and in addressing the root causes of homelessness.”

Today, James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, visited Centrepoint, one of the charities in the coalition. He met staff and was shown Centrepoint’s new helpline, launched last year as the first national freephone service for any young person aged between 16 and 25 who is homeless or worried about homelessness. The helpline receives around 300 calls per month, 42 per cent of which are from young people in London.

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, said: “Londoners’ great generosity will help support the vital work of homelessness charities across the capital, meaning that organisations like Centrepoint can go even further in the services they offer. Whether it’s finding a bed for the night, providing support into permanent housing, or offering a listening ear, their work changes lives for the better every single day. I was delighted to visit Centrepoint’s helpline today to see first-hand the great work they do.”

Seyi Obakin OBE, Chief Executive of Centrepoint, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the deputy mayor to the Centrepoint Helpline so he could see first-hand how we are working to support young Londoners who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“The generosity of Londoners makes a huge a difference to charities like Centrepoint who work with hundreds of homeless young people in the capital every year.  As one of the wealthiest cities in the world it is vital that we all play our part in ending youth homeless by supporting young people into a home and a job.”

At the launch of the campaign last winter, Sadiq changed City Hall policy to enable cold-weather shelters to be opened more often. Under the previous Mayor’s policy, shelters only opened when three consecutive nights of sub-zero temperatures were forecast. Sadiq did not believe this policy went far enough to help those sleeping rough in the capital, and as a result of his new policy, cold-weather shelters are open every night temperatures fall below zero.  This meant that between December and March they were open for 38 nights, compared to the 31 nights they would have been open in that same period under the previous Mayor’s policy.

Sadiq also worked with all 33 London boroughs, including the City of London, to help them change their local policies and operate in the same way. The work of boroughs, voluntary and faith-based organisations, and City Hall means that almost 1,000 spaces were available across the capital to those who needed them on each of the nights when temperatures fell below zero.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “It’s scandalous that every night thousands of Londoners have to resort to sleeping on the streets. That’s why we’re hugely grateful for people’s generous donations to the London Charities Homeless Group during the Mayor’s rough sleeping campaign – but the hard work doesn’t stop here. Ongoing support is essential to continue our work to help get the homeless into secure homes so they can rebuild their lives.”

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “Our thanks to the Mayor and all the partners in the London Homeless Charities Group for pulling together this campaign, which meant there was something every Londoner could do to help people sleeping rough over the cold winter period.

“And many thanks to Londoners for their extreme generosity. We’re putting money raised towards our Recovery College which helps support people who’ve been sleeping rough with their wellbeing and into training and employment. Around 650 people attend our London Recovery College over a year, which offers activities and ways to rebuild self-confidence and boost skills which can help people to find and sustain a home and move away from the streets for good.”

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