Friday 14 December 2018
- Londoners donate more than 2,500 times through new contactless points and GoFundMe page
- Mayor visits his new ‘staging post’ in Southwark – short-term accommodation for rough sleepers as they get help to stay off the streets
- Londoners make over 1,500 referrals to StreetLink in last fortnight alone
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (14 December) praised Londoners for donating to homelessness charities, as the amount raised by his winter rough sleeping campaign topped £78,000 in just two weeks.
Sadiq’s comments followed his visit, last night, to his new ‘staging post’ for rough sleepers in Southwark, where he met outreach workers and those who had benefitted from the service. The service – part of the “No Second Night Out” programme and funded by extra money the Mayor has secured from national Government – offers rough sleepers short-term accommodation and in-depth support to help them stay off the streets.
Sadiq launched his winter rough sleeping campaign a fortnight ago with 35 new ‘TAP London’ contactless donation points across the capital. Since then, another 18 points have been put in place, and Londoners have already used them 2,581 times, alongside donations on the campaign’s GoFundMe page, to donate to the London Homeless Charities Group – a coalition of 22 charities tackling homelessness in the capital.
Londoners have also responded to Sadiq’s call to help connect those sleeping rough with outreach workers and vital services by using the StreetLink app and website. 1,474 referrals have already been made to StreetLink in the last fortnight.
In addition, Londoners are stepping up to volunteer and help this vital cause in any way they can, with over 450 expressing an interest in opportunities via the Team London website since Sadiq launched his campaign. Team London is the Mayor’s volunteering programme, offering Londoners a range of volunteering opportunities across the capital, from one-off events to longer-term commitments.
The campaign is part of Sadiq’s efforts to boost rough sleeping services in the capital, including through using funding he has secured from national Government to double the size of City Hall’s street outreach team. The Mayor has also agreed with London councils that severe weather shelters will now open London-wide if the temperature is predicted to drop below zero anywhere in the capital. Previously, shelters were opened on a borough-by-borough basis, leading to patchy provision.
Last night (Thursday), the new policy came into action as the Mayor opened emergency weather shelters across London for the first time this year, with temperatures dropping to zero or below in several boroughs across the capital. Sadiq has also worked with boroughs to sign up to the ‘In For Good’ principle – a promise that, when a rough sleeper goes to an emergency shelter, they will be accommodated there until a support plan is put in place to help them off the streets for good.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Even one person sleeping rough is one too many, and it’s fantastic to see this year’s campaign get off to such a great start, with Londoners donating through the new TAP London contactless points and online. City Hall is doing everything we can to help rough sleepers, including opening emergency shelters across the capital all at the same time as temperatures start to drop, and expanding services to make sure people get the support they need to end their time on the streets. We know members of the public want to help rough sleepers whenever they can, and by referring any people they are concerned about to StreetLink, Londoners are making a real difference by connecting them with outreach workers. I urge Londoners to keep donating, keep referring to StreetLink, and to support my calls on the Government to do more to stop the root causes of homelessness.”
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper, Offender and Migrants Services at St Mungo’s, said: “This was a welcome opportunity to introduce the Mayor to clients and staff at the Staging Post and tell him more about the service and how it links in with others across London. It is vital to support people new to rough sleeping indoors as soon as possible, especially as the weather gets colder, and we’d encourage people to keep using the StreetLink web and app referral service if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough. These referrals mean that our and other outreach teams can connect people quickly into places such as NSNO and the Staging Post.
“As one of the members of the London Homeless Charities Group, can we also thank the many generous Londoners who have already supported this campaign. We will be putting the money we receive from the campaign this year into services that help people tackling physical and mental health problems. People can face complex problems recovering from rough sleeping and homelessness but with the right support at the right time we know that people can, and do, rebuild their lives.”
The Mayor invests almost £3.7 million every year into the No Second Night Out Service, which is run by St Mungo’s. This year, Sadiq is also investing an additional £1.54 million of Government funding to expand the service, developing two new staging posts and a ‘floating hub’ which moves around London targeting rough sleeping hot spots with intensive, immediate support. This is just one of the many services run by the Mayor, funded from his £8.5 million a year rough sleeping budget and by the millions of pounds of additional funding he has secured from the Government. Last year the Mayor’s teams helped 5,000 rough sleepers and former rough sleepers, and 86 per cent of those people were not seen on the streets again.
TAP London are set to roll out further contactless donation points across the capital, with more than 90 to be put in place throughout the winter.