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Mayor launches new help for rough sleepers

Friday June 29th, 2018

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.Sadiq Khan

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 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.

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.”

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