Sadiq sets out plans for £50 million fund to help homeless people

20 December 2016
  • Further funding also announced to help women who are long-term rough sleepers off the streets

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set out plans for a £50m fund to help homeless people, including former rough sleepers and victims of domestic abuse, by delivering properties specifically earmarked for people needing to move on from hostels and refuges.

The move-on accommodation will help homeless people, including young people and women, who are ready to move into a home of their own after spending time being supported in hostels and refuges.  

The funding is available to housing providers as part of the Mayor’s £3.15bn Affordable Homes Programme, which was agreed with the Government in November’s Autumn Statement.

The Mayor invests a further £9m annually in services for rough sleepers in London, and recently launched his ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ taskforce - bringing together government, boroughs and key agencies to focus on how to prevent rough sleeping and help entrenched rough sleepers. 

Rough sleeping is extremely dangerous for everyone, but especially for women, who are particularly vulnerable to physical attacks and verbal abuse. 

Female rough sleepers often respond to these dangers by remaining ‘invisible’, choosing places to sleep which are hidden from view and ‘disguising’ their homelessness. As a result, many of these women, including those escaping domestic abuse, are significantly less likely than men to access the help and support they need.

To help address this the Mayor has this week allocated funding for a specialist service, the Female Hidden Homeless Project, run by the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. The funding will contribute to the provision of dedicated mental health specialist support with an aim of providing a route off the streets for women who have been rough sleeping for a long time across London.

Sadiq made the announcement on a visit to a specialist service in Marylebone, yesterday evening, that provides accommodation, training and skills support for homeless women. 

The Marylebone Project offers 112 long and short-term beds to homeless women, as well as emergency beds for women fleeing from domestic abuse, and a rough sleepers drop-in providing hot food and showers. The project also offers skills and training including CV writing, and IT lessons to support users into independent living.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Rising levels of homelessness and rough sleeping in London are beyond shameful in one of the richest cities in the world and it’s a sad fact that for years some of London’s most vulnerable people have been let down and ignored.

"Homelessness is a complicated problem and it will take time to turn things around, but I’m determined we do everything we can to support people from becoming homeless and help them if they do. This is why I’ve set out plans to invest £50 million in accommodation for people moving from hostels to long-term independent living, alongside the £9 million we spend every year on rough sleeping services. I’ve brought together boroughs, government, and the wider housing sector, and it’s critical we work together to tackle the scourge of homelessness.

“Rough sleeping can be very dangerous, and homeless women are particularly vulnerable to abuse, which is why the specialist services provided by places like the Marylebone Project and the Female Hidden Homeless Project that I am supporting are much needed.”

The Marylebone Project is set up through a partnership between Church Army and the Portman House Trust. At the service yesterday the Mayor met singer Ellie Goulding, the projects patron.

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of the Church Army said:  "I'm thrilled to welcome the mayor and our patron Ellie Goulding to Church Army's Marylebone Project. This amazing centre serves hundreds of homeless women each year. It is literally a life line for some of the most vulnerable people in the capital, providing support, advice, training and most of all, a safe place to call home. More and more women depend on us and the Mayor and Ellie's support makes such a difference"

The accommodation funded by the Mayor will run on two-year tenancies to homeless people ready for independent living.  This will not only help people to rebuild their lives, it will also free up much needed hostel and refuge places for people needing the wider support they offer.

Notes to editors