Mayor doubles street outreach team to help rough sleepers

28 November 2018

            
news release
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Wednesday 28th November 2018


Mayor doubles street outreach team and rolls out contactless donation points to help rough sleepers this winter
• Sadiq doubles street outreach team and gears up severe weather shelters to open London-wide whenever freezing temperatures are forecast
• Coalition of 22 homelessness charities will benefit from new TAP London contactless donation points launched by Sadiq across London alongside GoFundMe page
• Sadiq warns Government must wake up and stop ignoring causes of homelessness, as cuts to welfare and support services continue to bite
 
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today launched his plans to help rough sleepers this winter – by doubling his street outreach team and opening London’s severe weather shelters more often than ever before, alongside offering Londoners the chance to donate to homeless charity projects through new contactless donation points across the capital.
 
This winter, Sadiq has doubled of the size of City Hall’s street outreach team, and agreed with London boroughs 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.
 
The Mayor has also persuaded all London boroughs to sign up to his ‘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.
 
After the success of his fundraising campaign last year, which raised nearly £200,000, the Mayor is once again working with the London Homeless Charities Group – a coalition of 22 charities working with homeless people across the capital. The coalition offers Londoners an easily accessible, single donation point with all donations split between the charities and going towards projects they run.
 
This year, donating to the charities will be even easier thanks to the roll out of TAP London contactless donation points. Supported by the Mayor, TAP London is a not-for-profit company dedicated to improving the lives of homeless Londoners through contactless technology and innovation. The TAP London points are small, secure payment points that enable Londoners to make £3 donations by card. 35 donation points will launch today with more than 90 appearing across the capital this winter.
 
Today the Mayor launched the scheme at City Hall, where one of the building’s windows now has a donation point. The other donation points are located in busy areas around the capital. Donations can also be made online via the campaign’s GoFundMe page.
 
The Mayor urged Londoners to donate to the campaign and also to use the Streetlink app and website to alert outreach services to rough sleepers needing support.
 
Tackling homelessness is one of the Mayor’s top priorities and, since taking office, he has secured an additional £12 million from the government for London–wide Mayoral rough sleeping services, on top of the £8.5 million a year he already spends on those services. Using this funding, Sadiq has doubled the size of his street outreach team and created a new team to help those sleeping rough on London’s transport network. Sadiq has also increased support for mental health services and funded projects dedicated to helping London’s homeless veterans.
 
Sadiq has launched a ‘pop-up’ homelessness hub, which moves to a different part of London every month, targeting areas where people are sleeping rough and working with them intensively over a short period to help them access accommodation and support. The hub has worked successfully in Stroud Green and Stratford - 23 of the 24 people who came into the service at Stroud Green were supported into accommodation. During the time the hub was active in Newham, the number of rough sleepers at the Stratford Shopping Centre reduced significantly from 50+ in September to 18 in October.
 
 The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is shameful that rough sleeping has risen so much under this Government, and it is our moral duty to do all we can to help people facing homelessness in our city. This winter, City Hall are doubling our outreach teams and making sure severe weather shelters open more often, and we want to make it as easy as possible for Londoners to play their part too.

“Last year, Londoners’ generosity helped us raise nearly £200,000, and referrals to Streetlink went up by 45 per cent over the winter. These new contactless donation points will make a big difference in encouraging Londoners to do their part to help.
 
“Ultimately, we need the Government to wake up and stop ignoring the fact their cuts to welfare and support services are pushing more people onto the street. Along with councils and charities in London, we need sustained funding to help people off the streets, and an honest focus by Ministers on the root causes of homelessness to end rough sleeping in London for good.”
 
Polly Gilbert, co-founder of TAP London said: ““Our pockets are getting lighter. Many of us just don’t carry change anymore. So we have to act quickly in creating new ways for people to give to those in need.

“If we each made just one “TAP” to tackle homelessness - we could bring about radical change expanding and sustaining vital services for Londoners in need.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Mayor of London and look forward to sharing news of the campaign’s progress."

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s said: “It’s shocking to think of anyone having to spend the night sleeping rough in 2018. Services such as ours are working hard all through the year, but as the weather turns colder, there’s more of a focus for urgent action.

“These pop up hubs, plus other new initiatives, are ways we’re looking to ensure that people able to access safe accommodation indoors, and from there have support plans in place to have a home for good.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis said: ““We are proud to continue to support the Mayor’s commitment to tackling rough sleeping and welcome the announcement of contactless donation points making it as easy as possible for people to give to charities working with homeless people.
 
“As we get closer to Christmas and the cold weather bites the sad reality is thousands of people across the capital are forced to call the streets their home.
 
“As well as being exposed to sub-zero temperatures, people sleeping rough are far more likely than the general public to be victims of violent crime and to die young. Tragically the average age of death for someone sleeping on the streets is just 47 years old.
 
“We know this is an issue close to Londoner’s hearts, so we want to thank the public in advance for their generosity, and for supporting our efforts to end homelessness in the capital once and for all.”
 
Kathy Mohan, Chief Executive of Housing Justice, said: “Housing Justice believes we all have a role to play in tackling rough sleeping from the Mayor to ordinary Londoners. We are pleased to support the Mayor’s initiative to give everyone an option to be involved the commitment to end rough sleeping in our capital, to tell Streetlink if you see a rough sleeper, to donate to the crowdfunder and to volunteer in some of the inspiring projects running in every part of the capital this winter.
 
“Community based night shelters such as those we support will give hospitality and hope to more than 2,000 people in London this winter. These vital projects will save and transform lives.
 
“For many of us, Christmas is a time at home with those we love. But it’s also a time when Londoners, through millions of small acts of kindness and generosity of spirit, remind us all why so many people call this city home, no matter where they’re staying tonight. We look forward to being part of that again this year and redoubling our efforts to end homelessness”
 
Dominic Gates, Director of Services at Providence Row said: “Thanks to the generosity of Londoners last year we were able to welcome 163 people to our centre, supporting them through our Resource Centre for rough sleepers.
 
The donation we received helped fund this vital service, which offers people who are rough sleeping access to a hot breakfast, showers, mobile phone charging, access to computers and the internet as well as a place to receive post.
 
“Providence Row’s Resource Centre not only provides some of the things a rough sleeper might need to feel physically better after a night on the streets, but is also a gateway to Providence Row’s other services. Each person is assessed and is assigned a keyworker from the charity’s Advice and Support team who will then work with that person over the longer term to access accommodation and further services.”
 
Last year the Mayor’s teams helped 5000 rough sleepers and former rough sleepers, and 86% of those people weren’t seen on the streets again.
 
CASE STUDY: Stuart
Stuart has been a part of St Mungo’s Recovery College since it opened five years ago.

“I had it all. A family home, my soulmate and three beautiful sons. I also had a drug and alcohol problem which I had suffered from since an early age. Even though I was able to work as a functioning addict, life was chaotic and to this end, my partner gave me an ultimatum – it was her and our sons or my addictions. Due to “the nature of the beast”, I chose addiction, a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. So began my life in and out of supported services and a life on the streets, where I slept rough around London for three years until 2012. Then I was supported by an Outreach Team into a No Second Night Out and then moved into St Mungo’s hostel in South London.
 
“In 2013 my St Mungo’s support worker told me about the charity’s Recovery College. I went along and attended a Personal Development and Wellbeing workshop. Ironically, the first workshop I attended was on “Self Esteem”. I was Inspired! After a few months, I wanted to do more so I joined Outside In (St Mungo’s client involvement group). I qualified as a Peer Facilitator and Recovery College tutor and have been delivering Personal Development and Wellbeing courses for the last few years. I am now living independently thanks to help of St Mungo’s.”
 
EDITORS NOTES

Londoners can donate to the campaign via: https://www.gofundme.com/endroughsleeping
 
35 donation points have been launched across London today. Locations include:
WeWork (4 devices: Moorgate, Corsham Street, Waterhouse, Devonshire Square, Finsbury Pavement)
Regent Street Winter Retreat (open Fridays and Saturdays only)
Vodafone (2 devices: Stratford, White City)
South Kensington Estates (1 device: Empty unit Brompton Road)
Greater London Authority (2 devices: City Hall, Union Street)
Westfield Europe Limited (5 devices: Westfield White City)
Board Game Cafe Draughts (1 unit: Waterloo)
The Walrus Bar and Hostel (1 unit: Waterloo)
The Duke of Sussex (1 unit: Waterloo)
The Fire Station (1 unit: Waterloo)
The Wellington Hotel (1 unit: Waterloo)
Bar Elba (1 unit: Waterloo)
The Gentlemen Baristas (2 units)
Regent Street Local (5 units)
Protein Studios (1 unit: Shoreditch)
Change Please Coffee Kiosk (1 unit: Canary Wharf)
Curzon Cinemas (2 units)
City of London Information Centre (1 unit)
Acquavit London (1 unit: West End)
Bump & Grind (1 unit)
The Harold Pinter Theatre (1 unit)
The May Fair Hotel (1 unit)
 
The funds raised from the GoFundMe page and TAP London locations will feed into a single fund, which will be split equally between the 22 members of the London Homeless Charities Group and spent on services to tackle or prevent rough sleeping.
 
TAP London is a non-profit organisation that seeks to tackle homelessness by using technology in new and innovative ways.
 
The charity was founded by two young Londoners (Polly Gilbert & Katie Whitlock www.taplondon.org), who wanted  to find innovative new ways of tackling homelessness using technology. 
Donations are processed in less than half a second, donor’s details are encrypted, and 100% of every donation made goes to the charities in the London Homeless Charities Group.
 
TAP London received funding from the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, Berkeley Foundation and Heart of London Business Alliance. The technology is provided and developed by GoodBox.
 
The Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund aims to stimulate new and innovative approaches to tackling rough sleeping in the capital. It offers grant funding to local authorities and organisations tackling rough sleeping, to pilot new ideas and develop new services in the sector. Projects to benefit so far include TAP London, Change Please coffee kiosks and the award-winning Beam initiative to crowd-fund training for homeless people.
 
StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough you can use the website (https://www.streetlink.org.uk/) or app to send an alert to StreetLink.
The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.

The London Homeless Charities Group (LHCG) is made up of 22 charities:
The Albert Kennedy Trust
The Big Issue
Centrepoint
Connection at St.Martins
Crisis
DePaul
Evolve
Homeless Action Barnet
Homeless Link
Housing Justice
Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness
Look Ahead
New Horizons Youth Centre
The Passage
Providence Row
Salvation Army
Shelter
SHP
St Mungo's
Thames Reach
West London Mission
YMCA
 
Communications agency Weber Shandwick kindly donated their time and effort to developing the campaign line and the launch creative.