Mayor announces extra £7m to help tackle rough sleeping in London

18 February 2019

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to invest an additional £7m of City Hall resources into a range of services and projects tackling rough sleeping in the capital.

Building on the £8.5m from City Hall already funding pan-London rough sleeping services each year, Sadiq is proposing a further £7million to provide both immediate and long-term support for rough sleepers, and improved winter provision, as part of his new Budget.

The Mayor will use this extra money to boost help for people who are homeless on the street, including by introducing a new rapid response outreach team in the coming months and by gearing up to expand severe weather shelters even further next winter.

This will build on Sadiq’s expansion of his services this winter, which has seen severe weather shelters opening London-wide when it is freezing or approaching zero degrees anywhere in the capital.

The Mayor made the announcement as he visited a coffee kiosk near London Bridge station run by Change Please, a social enterprise part funded by City Hall that offers rough sleepers a way off the streets and into employment by training them as baristas.

Change Please was awarded £60,000 through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, for a caseworker to assist with training, employment, and wider housing and health support, as well as going towards opening two new cafes, which will support 16 people out of rough sleeping each year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The increase in rough sleeping in recent years across the country is a national disgrace, and we are doing all we can to help people off the streets of London. This extra funding from City Hall means we can build on the new services we have introduced this winter to go even further – with new help for rough sleepers including an all-year-round rapid response team. But the truth is that we will never truly end homelessness unless the Government fully invests in the services we need, and crucially until Ministers stop ignoring the fact that their policies and cuts are making more people homeless in the first place.”

On his visit to Change Please, the Mayor added: “Organisations like Change Please are doing a fantastic job helping homeless people to rebuild their lives, offering training, employment and support. It was great to meet the baristas today and hear how far they’ve come since sleeping on the streets, and the bright future they have now.”

Since taking office, the Mayor has made tackling rough sleeping a priority, throwing out the previous Mayor’s inadequate severe weather shelter policy and working with boroughs to ensure all shelters across the capital are opened as soon as the temperature is forecast to drop to or below zero. They have been open 24 nights already this winter. Under the previous policy, temperatures had to be freezing for three consecutive nights and boroughs opened their shelters at different times, leading to patchy services. Sadiq has also doubled the number of street outreach workers in his services and his rough sleeping services supported more than 3,100 people off the streets last year.

Cemal Ezel, Founder of Change Please, which received £60,000 from the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund and £50,000 from his Good Growth fund, said: “It’s fantastic to have the support of the London Mayor - the Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund has been crucial in helping us grow our business so that we can employ more previously homeless baristas and change lives. With more Change Please carts popping up across the city, and our coffee available to buy in Sainsbury's, Londoners now have the opportunity to improve the lives of homeless individuals with the simple gesture of buying a coffee.”

In addition, the Mayor’s rough sleeping campaign, launched at the end of November, has already raised over £207,000 for the London Homeless Charities Group, a coalition of charities working to tackle rough sleeping. Over £46,000 of this was raised via TAP London contactless donation points, rolled out by Sadiq at the campaign launch, with 78 now in place across the capital offering Londoners an easy way to donate £3 with their contactless debit card. Earlier this month, the Mayor partnered with advertising giant Clear Channel to display weather-triggered ads on billboards and digital screens across the capital, revealing the temperature when it drops to zero and highlighting how Londoners can help by referring rough sleepers they are concerned about to StreetLink. More than 12,000 referrals have already been made by Londoners since the end of November, compared to 8,500 last year over the whole of the winter campaign.

Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor’s final Budget is due to go before a meeting of the London Assembly on February 25.
  2. The Mayor’s Budget consists of allocations for - the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (Metropolitan Police), Transport for London, the London Fire Commissioner (London Fire Brigade), the London Legacy Development Company (Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park), the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, the core Greater London Authority and the London Assembly.
  3. The total budget for the GLA Group for 2018-19 is £18.3bn. This comprises a revenue budget of £12bn and a draft capital spending plan of £6.3bn. The £7m. extra funding for rough sleeping services provided by the Mayor will be spent over financial years 2019/20 and 2020/21.
  4. To donate to the London Homeless Charities Group, visit:https://www.gofundme.com/endroughsleeping
  5. Change Please launched in 2015 in partnership with The Big Issue. The social enterprise empowers the homeless community by training them to become coffee baristas and supporting them back into the wider workplace in similar roles. In addition to providing barista training, Change Please supports its trainees by finding them accommodation, setting up a bank account, and providing emotional therapy. It also pays the Living Wage and has 32 sites across the UK.
  6. The Mayor’s £1 million Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund (RSIF) provides grants of between £10,000 to £80,000, with the aim of supporting the development of innovative new ideas and approaches to tackling rough sleeping. To date, there have been two bidding rounds for this programme.
  7. Change Please was awarded £60,000 through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund Round 2; £40k in 2018-19 and £20k in 2019-20.
  8. Change Please also received £50,000 of funding from the Mayor’s Good Growth fund to complete a feasibility study for new retail sites.

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