The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced he has secured £11.6 million in funding from the Government to improve homeless hostels in the capital.
The vital money will be used to provide refurbished and new accommodation, including over 320 beds, for organisations across London that work to help people come off the streets.
St Mungos, West London YMCA, Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association and the London Borough of Camden all submitted successful bids for funding, allocated as part of the nationwide Homelessness Change Programme.
With an added focus on training and employment support, the aim of the programme is to achieve improvements in the way homelessness services look, feel and operate, establishing centres of excellence from which rough sleepers can make positive steps away from the homelessness cycle. Six projects - in the City, Tower Hamlets, Ealing, Southwark and two in Camden – are all set to boost their facilities as a result of the cash injection.
The announcement comes as the Mayor revealed that the No Second Night Out scheme, which he launched six months ago, has now helped 382 people to come off the capital’s streets.
The project, which has been identified as a model of best practice by the Government, is now being rolled out across the UK to ensure that no one is forced to sleep rough for more than one night.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Hostels play a crucial role in helping people rebuild their lives away from the streets and their success is central to helping us to end rough sleeping in London.
"We have made great strides in providing a rapid response to new rough sleepers with our No Second Night Out project, and the hostels that have received funding today will play a key role in helping those with longer-term needs.
"There are some fantastic organisations working to tackle homelessness in the capital and boosting the quality of the accommodation provided will give the people they help a far better chance to transform their futures."
Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homelessness charities, said: "Hostels are a much needed lifeline for those at risk of sleeping rough. They provide decent, safe accommodation and support people to address their problems and become independent.
"With providers facing real pressures on budgets in the current climate, we welcome this extra funding, which will help to make sure that fewer homeless people return to the streets.
"We also need to prevent rough sleeping before it begins. To do this we call on all local authorities to adopt the No Second Night Out standard. The project is already showing the value of helping people the moment they arrive on the streets, before they fall into a lifestyle of rough sleeping."
Notes to editors
Funding for improvements to hostels under the Homelessness Change Programme will be administered by the Homes and Communities Agency.
The Mayor’s London Delivery Board, chaired by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor, Richard Blakeway, is leading on ending rough sleeping in London by the end of 2012. Its membership reflects determined commitment across central, regional and local government, the Metropolitan Police and the voluntary sector to end rough sleeping.
The following organisations have representatives on the London Delivery Board: City of London, City of Westminster, Department of Communities and Local Government, Crisis, Jobcentre Plus, Greater London Authority, Homeless Link, LB Brent, LB Camden, LB Hammersmith and Fulham, LB Kensington and Chelsea, LB Southwark, LB Tower Hamlets, LB Lambeth, London Development Agency, DWP, Mayor's Office, Metropolitan Police, NHS London, St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, Broadway, United Kingdom Borders Agency, National Offender Management Service.
No Second Night Out means that anybody new to the street can get help so that they do not have to sleep out in London for more than one night. An assessment ‘hub’, reconnections service and extra outreach resources are being provided to ensure that those new to the street are provided with an alternative to sleeping rough. The initiative emphasises the importance, where possible, of people reconnecting with their home areas, providing they are not put at risk.
For more information on No Second Night Out visit www.nosecondnightout.org.uk