Mayor opens emergency shelters across London and hails success of contactless donation points as temperatures drop

Thursday 17th January 2019

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is opening emergency cold weather shelters across the capital for the third time this winter, as temperatures are set to hit zero or below this evening.

Every night more than 700 spaces are available through the severe weather shelters funded by City Hall and boroughs, in addition to more than 600 spaces provided by winter night shelters run by faith and community groups. The shelters, which the Mayor previously opened in December and earlier this month, will remain open throughout the weekend.

Sadiq also hailed the generosity of Londoners, who have used TAP London contactless donation points over 10,000 times in under two months to raise more than £30,000 for the London Homeless Charities Group, a coalition of charities working to tackle rough sleeping. The Mayor rolled out 35 of the points, partly funded by his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, when he launched his rough sleeping fundraising campaign at the end of November. Since then, an additional 35 points have been launched across the capital, enabling Londoners to donate on the go using their contactless debit card or phone. The campaign has raised more than £170,000 in total so far.

Sadiq has agreed with London councils that from this winter, severe weather shelters will now open London-wide if the temperature is predicted to drop to zero or below anywhere in the capital. Previously, shelters were opened on a borough-by-borough basis, leading to patchy provision. The Mayor 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: “It is fantastic to see how Londoners have thrown their support behind this campaign, and are using the contactless donation points and the online fundraising page to make a real difference to rough sleeping services this winter. As the temperature drops tonight, our approach means all emergency shelters across London will be open to help rough sleepers. At City Hall, we are doing all we can to help people off the streets, and Londoners are playing their part too by referring any rough sleepers they see to StreetLink, with over 5,000 referrals since our campaign began. Together we will help thousands of Londoners this winter – but we must be clear that to truly end homelessness Government Ministers must stop ignoring the fact that their policies are pushing more people onto the streets.”

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