The Mayor of London has joined forces with 18 organisations tackling homelessness – including The Big Issue Foundation – to provide extra help for rough sleepers in the capital this winter.
Sadiq Khan has formed a coalition – the London Homeless Charities Group – aimed at creating a stronger safety net for people on the streets.
A new strategy will see emergency shelters open across the capital on every day of sub-zero temperatures, ditching the previous policy of shelters opening only when three consecutive days of freezing temps are forecast.
New, permanent hubs will be set up in Hackney and Lewisham for the No Second Night Out service – a rapid response to the needs of new rough sleepers, with outreach teams heading out to offer them an alternative.
And Khan’s new coalition will also offer Londoners a single charitable donation point, with all funds generated going equally to the 18 organisations providing services for rough sleepers.
It follows a commitment by the mayor to spend £9 million every year on rough sleeping services in London and a £50 million fund to invest in accommodation so that people can move on from a cycle of dependency on hostels.
He also set up a taskforce to explore new ways to address the rough sleeping crisis.
One person sleeping rough is always one too many
“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,” said Khan. “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,” he added.
“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.”
Khan’s “No one needs to sleep rough in London” campaign will be promoted on the London Underground network and supported across the Mayor’s social media channels for the next two months.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, explained: “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,” he added.
“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.”