The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has activated the pan-London Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for the first time this winter to protect homeless people as temperatures are forecast to fall below 0°C tonight.
The activation of SWEP ensures that councils across London (alongside homelessness charities) open additional emergency accommodation for people who are sleeping rough during weather conditions that could pose a threat to life. All boroughs in London have committed to the Mayor’s ‘In for Good’ principle, which means no one will be asked to leave accommodation until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of an increase in temperature.
Sadiq is warning that rising bills and housing costs are forcing growing numbers of people to sleep rough on London’s streets. The latest quarterly figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show the number of people sleeping rough in London has jumped 24 per cent in the past year, meaning more than 3,600 people slept on the capital’s streets between June and September. The Mayor’s rough sleeping services are helping more people than ever before, with more than 13,500 rough sleepers supported off the streets since 2016.
Last week the Mayor launched his annual winter rough sleeping fundraising campaign, working with charity partner TAP London to raise money for four charities that work with young homeless Londoners: akt, Centrepoint, Depaul UK, and New Horizon Youth Centre. The donations help to support the Youth Homelessness Hub, which recently reopened at a new location in north London.
Londoners can donate to the campaign in a number of ways, including at one of the TAP points or using this link. There are 35 TAP points across London, including at Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge and Liverpool Street stations.
Londoners can also use the StreetLink app or website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services.
What donations could provide:
£5 could cover the cost of sanitary products for a young person fleeing domestic abuse.
£20 could help a young person to stay connected to friends and family with a smartphone.
£50 could cover one night’s accommodation at an LGBTQ+ friendly hostel, plus food and travel vouchers.
£100 could cover the cost of counselling for up to 10 young people experiencing homelessness.
£500 could pay for two street outreach sessions per week, to locate and support young people who are sleeping rough.
Sadiq’s winter rough sleeping campaign has raised more than £600,000 since 2017.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled funding and support to tackle homelessness, helping over 13,500 rough sleepers off the streets, but there’s much more to do. Too many people are facing a freezing winter on the streets of the capital without the safe, secure accommodation they need.
“Across the capital, we are doing everything we can to prevent anyone sleeping rough in these freezing conditions as we work to build a fairer and safer London for everyone. I am also encouraging Londoners to download the Streetlink app or use the Streetlink website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services.
“London’s councils and charities will be working even harder this week to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. On behalf of all Londoners I thank them for their tireless efforts.”