Last year, Londoners donated almost £200,000 to help rough sleepers off the street – double the original target. These funds went to the London Homeless Charities Group, a coalition of charities supported by the Mayor. So that Londoners can understand the huge positive impact of their generosity, here are a few examples of how the money was spent:
Where does my donation go?
The Albert Kennedy Trust, which works with young LGBT+ people who are homeless or living in a hostile environment, has been able to boost its Emergency Assistance Package offering emergency accommodation, travel cards, top-up credit for mobile phones and a food allowance to vulnerable young individuals. In some circumstances they also provide a mobile phone to ensure that young people can stay connected to their services. These necessary items ensure that a young person is safe and that they avoid the risks of sexual exploitation, substance misuse and abuse, which many young LGBT people face when homeless.
The Big Issue Foundation runs a small team of frontline workers – Service Brokers – who have formed strong relationships of trust with even the hardest to reach vendors, identifying their health, housing, finances, employment and other support needs. The funds contributed to their work over the last year, helping 233 Big Issue vendors.
Centrepoint used the funds to support counselling sessions and health living skills for the young people that they work with, many of whom suffer from severe mental health problems.
Providence Row put the donations towards their Resource Centre, providing rough sleepers access to a hot breakfast, showers, mobile phone charging, access to computers and the internet as well as a place to receive post. This vital service 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.
Connection at St. Martins used the funds to support their Night Centre. This life-saving emergency accommodation service provides a hot evening meal, showers, laundry facilities and one-to-one support for up to 45 rough sleepers each night (which increased to 80 during the extreme cold weather in March 2018). Managed by a team experienced in working with extremely vulnerable people, the centre also acts as a gateway to their other day-time services. Last year 775 rough sleepers stayed at the Night Centre an average of 18 nights per person before moving on to more stable accommodation.
Homeless Link, in partnership with St Mungo’s, runs StreetLink, which responds to referrals from the public about rough sleepers by sending outreach workers to link them into services. When the ‘Beast from the East’ hit hard last year, the cash injection meant the service could respond to the increased volume of referrals. During the campaign, Londoners made 8,516 referrals – the highest level on record, up almost 45 per cent from 5,892 referrals over the equivalent period the previous year.
St Mungo’s spent the funds on its Recovery College, created by homeless people and the first of its kind in the homelessness sector. Courses and activities are co-designed by students and staff and are designed to boost essential skills for living independently and moving into work.
The London Homeless Charities Group
The London Homeless Charities Group comprises the following 22 charities: The Albert Kennedy Trust, Thames Reach, New Horizons Youth Centre, The Passage, Homeless Link, The Big Issue, West London Mission, Centrepoint, Housing Justice, Connection at St.Martins, Crisis, DePaul, Shelter, Providence Row, Salvation Army, YMCA, St Mungo's, Look Ahead, Homeless Action Barnet, Evolve, SHP and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness.
We’re excited to be working with TAP London this year. TAP London is a social enterprise, part funded by the Mayor of London’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund.
This initiative is also supported by the Berkeley Foundation and the Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA). TAP’s aim is to use contactless technology to encourage people to donate money to help homeless people. All the money donated through TAP London units during the Mayor’s rough sleeping campaign will go to the London Homeless Charities Group.
See the TAP contactless donation locations:
The Mayor, HOLBA and Berkeley Foundation are covering all the fees associated with the TAP donation method. GoFundMe do not charge any platform fees, but a standard third-party payment processing fee of 1.9 per cent applies to all donations. If you choose to add GiftAid to your donation, 100 per cent of the additional Gift Aid amount will go direct to the charities.
Also, if you see someone sleeping rough who you are concerned about, you can help make sure they get support by letting StreetLink know through their website or app.