Mayor launches new StreetLink services for London’s rough sleepers
- StreetLink London Advice Line gives people sleeping on the streets the ability to get immediate help
- New StreetLink London website to show latest information on how to help people sleeping rough in the capital
- Mayor announces new services on visit to St Mungo’s GLA funded South London No Second Night Out shelter
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is continuing his support for London’s rough sleepers by launching a new service with the charity StreetLink to allow homeless people to directly speak to people about what immediate help would be available.
The StreetLink app and website currently allow members of the public to alert local homelessness services to people sleeping on the streets so outreach workers can check on their safety, offer support and help them identify a route off the street.
Thanks to funding from the Mayor and Bloomberg LP, StreetLink will this month launch the StreetLink London Advice Line, allowing people sleeping rough to be connected directly with expert support, instead of waiting for passers-by to refer them. People sleeping rough will be able to call a free phone number, where a new dedicated team of call handlers who have been specially trained to help the most vulnerable people will provide immediate support and signposting into services as well as putting them in touch with outreach workers. The phone number will be available at day centres and medical centres, as well as being given to rough sleepers by outreach workers and Homeless Link.
Last year, following a campaign by the Mayor, Londoners made a record number of referrals to StreetLink, with more than 5,000 rough sleepers helped as a direct result of alerts from members of the public.
The Mayor’s funding has also allowed StreetLink to develop a new StreetLink London homepage – giving Londoners the latest information about homeless outreach services in the capital and what they can do to help.
The site will also show when the Mayor’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is active. SWEP is activated soon as temperatures are forecast to be zero degrees or lower on any night in any part of the capital and means council and charity services open extra beds to people sleeping rough.
On a visit to the Lewisham No Second Night Out shelter, one of the first ports of call for people in South London referred via StreetLink, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The number of people sleeping rough on our streets is a national disgrace, and since becoming Mayor I have made it a priority to do everything in my power to tackle this crisis.
“StreetLink services are an essential part of this and give Londoners a chance to play an active role in helping people sleeping rough to build a life off the streets. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support them in setting up this new advice service and the specialist StreetLink London website.
"This is just one of the many initiatives being undertaken by City Hall to help London’s homeless people. On Christmas Eve I opened City Hall to 100 homeless Londoners, and we are doing more than ever before, but it's clear more needs to be done. Ministers now must wake up to this issue with a proper plan of action rather than the empty promises of the last decade."
Last year, 8,855 people were seen sleeping rough on the streets of London by outreach workers – more than double the number in 2010/11. Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has made tackling rough sleeping in London one of his top priorities. Earlier this year he announced that he was doubling his rough sleeping budget to £19.2m, including £2.2m to fund 300 extra bed spaces across London in the coldest months of the year through his Winter Programme.
Encouraging more Londoners to use the StreetLink app and website is a key message of the Mayor’s winter rough sleeping campaign, alongside raising funds for the London Homeless Collective. Generous Londoners have already donated more than £50,000 in the first month of this year’s campaign via TAP London contactless donation points and the campaign’s GoFundMe page (details below).
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleepers, Ex-Offenders and Migrant Services from St Mungos, who run outreach services in north London and the Mayor’s Lewisham No Second Night Out (NSNO) shelter, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous so it is vital that people get the help they need as quickly as possible and don’t spend second, third or more nights on the streets.
“This new pilot service will enable people who are sleeping rough or at risk to access the available support more quickly with the support of the London Advice Line team. Alongside referrals from concerned Londoners, this will help our and outreach teams and services be able to directly help more vulnerable people off the streets, out of danger into NSNO and other shelters and on with their lives.”
Matt Harrison, Director of StreetLink, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Greater London Authority and St. Mungo’s to trial this new service for people sleeping rough in London.
“StreetLink already works well as a national tool for the public to send an alert about someone they see sleeping rough, and the StreetLink London Advice Line has the potential to put power in the hands of individuals to help them move towards ending their rough sleeping for good.”
Notes to editors
The new StreetLink London homepage can be found here: https://www.streetlink.london/
Members of the public are still encouraged to alert StreetLink to people they see sleeping rough either through the StreetLink app or by calling 0300 500 0914. The number for the new advice line will be made available directly to people sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness.
Donations to the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Campaign can be made here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/endroughsleeping
To read the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Plan of Action, visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/homelessness/rough...