Help London’s homeless – put empty properties to use

The Mayor believes we all need to do all we can to help rough sleepers in London. Ending homelessness for good needs national government to address its root causes, but by working together we can make a big difference by helping people off the streets now.

That is why, this year, the Mayor is spending twice as much on rough sleeping services in the capital compared to when he came into office. He is making this money go as far as possible by working with charities and Londoners themselves, and by using the GLA group’s buildings to run services from.

How you can help

The Mayor is asking businesses and developers in London to help too, by offering any empty properties you own or manage as locations for his services to help rough sleepers.

Below are some of the sorts of buildings the Mayor’s new and expanded services are likely to need in the coming year. By offering such buildings to us now, at low or no cost, you will help us mobilise extra services faster and make our funding go further.

This list is not exhaustive – please get in touch with us if you would like to offer facilities that do not match those described here. The basic minimum requirements are simply that properties are safe, warm, and have basic amenities.

If you have any buildings that you think could be suitable please contact:

David Eastwood, Rough Sleeping Lead Manager
[email protected] 

Buildings we need

Large spaces (short term) 

Examples of services/uses:

  • Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) shelters – activated across London by the Mayor when temperatures are freezing or below.
  • ‘Floating’ assessment hubs – intensive focused services under one roof which moves to a new location each month.
  • Staffed 24/7, with individuals typically staying for one night to two weeks.

More information on large spaces (short term)

Building spec:

Essential Desirable
Power and water Small kitchen/food prep area
Proximity to indicated areas Showers
Main space for 12-20 camp beds Laundry facilities
Office space for 4 staff 2-3 parking spaces
Separate assessment room  
Toilets  

Cost: Must be at no cost.

Number: One floating hub per month on a rolling basis. During winter, multiple SWEP centres open at once.

Location(s): Anywhere within Greater London. For SWEP, central locations are preferable.

Dates and duration: Minimum 3 weeks for each floating hub. SWEP centres are on a night by night basis depending on weather conditions, required to be available between November 2019 and March 2020.

Large spaces (longer term)

Examples of services/uses:

  • Rough sleeping prevention and assessment hubs, to which individuals are referred by street outreach teams.
  • Staffed 24/7, run by experienced charity partners, with individuals staying for a relatively short time (aiming for less than 28 days).

More information on large spaces (longer term)

Building spec:

Essential Desirable
Power and water Parking for 2-3 cars
Space for min 20 camp beds Proximity to public transport
Toilets (min 2) Store room
Shower(s) Accessible
Staff office (min 4 desks) Laundry/utility room
Staff toilet Contained outside space for client smoking
Kitchenette  
Assessment rooms (min 2)  

Cost: No cost/meanwhile use ideal, but resource for low rent available.

Number: Seeking multiple separate sites (i.e. min 20 capacity each site).

Location(s): Ideally central or inner London (zones 1 – 3).

Dates and duration: From summer 2019 for up to 2 years (available for 12 months min).

Buildings with individual rooms

Examples of services/uses:

  • ‘Staging post’ locations for individuals who have a plan to exit rough sleeping, and who need further support to implement it.
  • People using the service would typically have their own space (single room), with access to some limited shared facilities.
  • Staffed 24/7, with individuals typically staying one to three months.

More information on buildings with individual rooms

Building spec:

Essential Desirable
Power and water Parking for 2-3 cars
Between 10 and 30 single rooms per site Proximity to public transport
Toilets (typically shared) Store room
Showers (typically shared) Accessible
Laundry/utility room  
Staff office  
Staff toilet  
Kitchenette(s)  
Assessment rooms (min 2)  

Cost: No cost/meanwhile use ideal, but resource for low rent available.

Number: Seeking multiple separate sites (i.e. 10-30 capacity each site).

Location(s): Ideally central or inner London (zones 1 – 3).

Dates and duration: From autumn 2019 for up to 2 years (available for 12 months min).

Individual flats

Examples of services/uses:

  • Typically required for people who need little or no on-going support but are currently living in rough sleeping services due to lack of housing options.
  • People would be referred from hostels, staging posts, and other supported accommodation, and supported to settle into their new home.

More information on individual flats

Building spec: Predominantly seeking 1 bed and studio properties.

Cost: Within Local Housing Allowance rates.

Number: Multiple.

Location(s): Anywhere within Greater London.

Dates and duration: Standard tenancy terms.

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