Mayor launches new help for rough sleepers

28 June 2018
  • Mayor warns levels are still at crisis point in London and demands Government action
  • Sadiq announces plan to double number of outreach workers and offer more help for rough sleepers with an extra £3.3 million he has secured from Ministers
  • Mayor warns problem has been allowed to spiral out of control and publishes new Plan of Action of how £574 million investment would help all rough sleepers off the streets


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today published City Hall’s first ever Plan of Action to tackle rough sleeping, demanding the Government invests £574 million over five years to provide a long-term, sustainable route off the streets for all rough sleepers in the capital.


The plan comes as official statistics, published today, show a drop in the number of people sleeping rough in the capital for the first time in a decade. In the last year (2017/18), 7,484 people were seen by outreach workers in London compared to 8,108 in 2016/17 – an eight per cent decrease.


Sadiq already spends £8.45 million a year on services tackling rough sleeping, including outreach teams who work 24/7 to find people sleeping rough, No Second Night Out hubs to help new rough sleepers, and two teams supporting rough sleepers once they move into accommodation. Last year, 87 per cent of people helped by Mayoral services left the streets.


With his No Nights Sleeping Rough taskforce, Sadiq has continually lobbied Government for more funding. In bids announced this month, London successfully secured an extra £11.1million for rough sleeping services, of which £3.3 million will be directly managed by City Hall.


The Mayor’s new Plan sets out the immediate action he will take with his current powers and resources to expand his pan-London services for rough sleepers. It also sets out the investment the Government must make to be able help everyone off the street, and urges Ministers to stop ignoring the root causes of homelessness.


With his extra £3.3 million, Sadiq will: 

  • Double the number of outreach workers in his London Street Rescue team this autumn;
  • Boost local cold weather shelters with a £600,000 small grants programme;
  • Expand the No Second Night Out service, including funding two new staging posts;
  • Improve access to mental health services with a specialist team to assess rough sleepers.


However, alongside these new services, and the work of councils, the voluntary sector, and community organisations, Sadiq’s Plan is clear the Government must take decisive action to truly end rough sleeping. This Plan includes the Government needing to invest £574 million - £261 million of revenue and £313 million of capital – over the next five years into services to provide both immediate help for those in crisis, and long-term assistance to keep people from returning to the streets. 


The Mayor’s comprehensive Plan calls on Government to take action including:

  • Reversing welfare reforms that are fuelling homelessness and making it harder to solve;
  • Supporting a new 'Places of Safety' network - immediate safe places for rough sleepers to go – and funding new assessment hubs, where rough sleepers go next with outreach workers to develop a plan of support;
  • Boosting funding so councils can meet their duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act;
  • Additional funding to develop new homes earmarked for rough sleepers and new funding to support rough sleepers once they are housed, as well as for a pan-London 'Housing First' initiative’;
  • Improving mental health and substance use services to rough sleepers.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We have seen rough sleeping in London fall for the first time in a decade, and we should thank the many dedicated people working and volunteering in our services for rough sleepers across the capital. But we cannot be complacent for a second – the hard truth is that Government has let rough sleeping spiral totally out of control.


“Our comprehensive plan makes clear Ministers must agree a huge injection of funding and commit to an honest focus on the root causes of homelessness and rough sleeping to truly tackle this crisis. Without that, we won’t be able to help everyone off the street – there’s a real danger services will be overwhelmed and we’ll see more people sleeping rough in future.


“We have a moral duty to act and work together until we have made sure no-one needs to sleep rough on the streets of London.”


Petra Salva, St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeper Services, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and dehumanising and it is unacceptable that almost 7,500 people slept rough in London last year. The Mayor’s Plan of Action rightly builds on existing pan-London services, such as No Second Night Out, that are already working well, but struggling to cope with the demand. It is particularly good to see investment in specialist mental health services that will deliver support to people when and where they need it most – on the street. We look forward to working in partnership with the Mayor’s team and others to turn the commitment to ensure a sustainable route off the street for everybody into a reality.”

Councillor Ian Adams, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s action plan to tackle rough sleeping, supported by additional investment from government as a strong complement to the exceptional local services already offered by boroughs across London.”

“We are committed to changing people’s lives for the better and we hope that these new services will make a real tangible difference. It is so important that we all work together across local, regional and national government to tackle this issue.”

The Mayor is also committing over £373,000 over the next two years to eight small-scale, innovative projects, through the second round of his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund. One of these projects, run by Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project, will set up a social enterprise community centre in Tower Hamlets offering safe shelter to vulnerable LGBT+ people.

Bob Green OBE, CEO at Stonewall Housing, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Outside Project, thanks to funding through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, to improve services for LGBT+ people.

 “LGBT+ people are more at risk of sleeping on the street and often avoid mainstream services so we are looking forward to working with the Greater London Authority and other projects that they are funding through this initiative in order to support more LGBT+ people to find safe housing and to access a range of services and social networks through the community space where they can celebrate their identity and achieve their full potential”.

Notes to editors

  1. To read the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Plan of Action, visit:
  2. The annual data is from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) available at:
  3. The Mayor’s No one Needs to Sleep rough in London winter campaign raised almost £200,000 for vital services. For more information visit
  4. For more information about the No Nights Sleeping Rough taskforce, visit:
  5. The Mayor has received grant funding of £3.3 million from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for the development and delivery of pan-London rough sleeper services and projects from 1 July 2018 – 31 March 2019:
    • £1,536,231 for the expansion of the NSNO service to include 2 additional NSNO staging posts and the creation of floating hubs.
    • £817,673 for the expansion of London Street Rescue.
    • £127,000 for the expansion of Routes Home (London Reconnection Service) to provide further support to boroughs and the floating hubs. 
    • Grant funding of up to £600,000 to Housing Justice for winter night shelters.
    • Grant funding of up to £198,537 to Enabling Assessment Service London for mental health support.
  6. The eight successful bids for the second round of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund were:
    • Change Please – Retail Expansion. The project will open two new Change Please cafes on TfL sites, and provide former rough sleepers with training and employment, as well as support with mental wellbeing, financial support and accommodation.
    • Aneemo – Online Rough Sleeper Mental Health Staff Training. To develop web-based training and support for frontline staff working with rough sleepers.
    • TAP London – Contactless Giving Ecosystem. To raise money raise for the Mayor of London alternative giving campaigns by installing 230 donation points across the boroughs of Westminister, Camden and Hackney, enabling Londoners to donate quickly and easily.
    • Connection at St Martin’s (CSTM) - Improving Services for Homeless Migrants. This project will produce a report outlining the new data and information collected on migrant homelessness, reviewing the post-Brexit homelessness environment in London and making recommendations for new projects and possible policy changes
    • Stonewall Housing - Stonewall Housing and Outside Project Community Centre and Shelter (SHOPCCS). A social enterprise community centre in Tower Hamlets offering safe shelter to vulnerable LGBTIQ+ people
    • Praxis – Praxis Hospital Immigration Support Service. Immigration advice project based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Royal London and University College Hospital.
    • St Mungo’s – Couples Recovery. Helping couples who are sleeping on the streets to recover from homelessness.
    • Housing Justice – More than Shelters. A programme for church and community night shelter projects in London

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