The Mayor of London announces extra £7m to help tackle rough sleeping in London
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to invest an additional £7m of City Hall resources into a range of services and projects tackling rough sleeping in the capital.
Building on the £8.5m from City Hall already funding pan-London rough sleeping services each year, Sadiq is proposing a further £7million to provide both immediate and long-term support for rough sleepers, and improved winter provision, as part of his new Budget.
The Mayor will use this extra money to boost help for people who are homeless on the street, including by introducing a new rapid response outreach team in the coming months and by gearing up to expand severe weather shelters even further next winter.
This will build on Sadiq’s expansion of his services this winter, which has seen severe weather shelters opening London-wide when it is freezing or approaching zero degrees anywhere in the capital.
The Mayor made the announcement as he visited a coffee kiosk near London Bridge station run by Change Please, a social enterprise part funded by City Hall that offers rough sleepers a way off the streets and into employment by training them as baristas.
Change Please was awarded £60,000 through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, for a caseworker to assist with training, employment, and wider housing and health support, as well as going towards opening two new cafes, which will support 16 people out of rough sleeping each year.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The increase in rough sleeping in recent years across the country is a national disgrace, and we are doing all we can to help people off the streets of London. This extra funding from City Hall means we can build on the new services we have introduced this winter to go even further – with new help for rough sleepers including an all-year-round rapid response team. But the truth is that we will never truly end homelessness unless the Government fully invests in the services we need, and crucially until Ministers stop ignoring the fact that their policies and cuts are making more people homeless in the first place.”
On his visit to Change Please, the Mayor added: “Organisations like Change Please are doing a fantastic job helping homeless people to rebuild their lives, offering training, employment and support. It was great to meet the baristas today and hear how far they’ve come since sleeping on the streets, and the bright future they have now.”
Since taking office, the Mayor has made tackling rough sleeping a priority, throwing out the previous Mayor’s inadequate severe weather shelter policy and working with boroughs to ensure all shelters across the capital are opened as soon as the temperature is forecast to drop to or below zero. They have been open 24 nights already this winter. Under the previous policy, temperatures had to be freezing for three consecutive nights and boroughs opened their shelters at different times, leading to patchy services. Sadiq has also doubled the number of street outreach workers in his services and his rough sleeping services supported more than 3,100 people off the streets last year.