The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is investing an additional £20.2m into his flagship Life off the Streets Programme as part of his continued efforts to help people sleeping rough in London rebuild their lives.
More than three-quarters of the funding (£17.27m) will be used to deliver the Mayor’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) service from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2027, with the possibility of extending the service for up to a further two years.
The NSNO service, a key part of the Mayor’s Life off the Streets Programme, supports people who are seen sleeping rough for the first time. The service assesses each person’s individual situation and provides tailored support based on their unique circumstances and needs to deliver a sustainable route off the streets. In 2022-23 the service supported 1887 people, 87 per cent of whom did not return to sleeping rough.
Extraordinary financial pressures are putting the poorest Londoners at growing risk of homelessness and the Mayor continues to urge the Government to do much more to prevent the steady flow of new people coming onto the streets.
In particular, he wants to see the Government put more robust measures in place to tackle the unprecedented cost-of living-crisis, provide further assistance for those with drug and alcohol dependency and restore the social security safety net which helps stop people become trapped in a cycle of homelessness. He also called for the end to no-fault evictions for private renters and investment in new council and affordable homes.
The remaining £2.75m funding will go towards other vital pan-London rough sleeping services, including:
- The Mayor’s Rapid Response Street Outreach Team, elements of which will be delivered in partnership with TfL ensuring people sleeping rough on the transport network are found more quickly and are offered accommodation
- Increased off-the-streets accommodation and emergency winter provision to safeguard those sleeping rough from cold weather this winter
- StreetLink, enabling the service to continue working across London and providing a triage phoneline for those who are new to the streets
- A shelter for members of the LGBTIQA+ community who are sleeping rough
- A training programme to upskill the homelessness and migrant sectors to better support non-UK nationals sleeping rough in London
- Veterans Aid’s Welfare to Wellbeing programme, ensuring that any UK veteran has an immediate route off the streets.
- Groundswell’s Homeless Health Peer Advocacy service, enabling people sleeping rough to address their health issues
- The Enabling Assessment Service London (EASL), helping people with mental health support needs who are sleeping rough to access the treatment they need
The Mayor’s increased investment into tackling rough sleeping comes as the latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) annual report reveals a 21 per cent rise in rough sleeping in the capital amidst the cost-of-living crisis. A total of 10,053 people were seen sleeping rough in London during 2022-23 – of which 64 per cent were reported to be new to the streets – up from 8,329 the previous year.
According to the CHAIN report, more than 20 per cent of people who slept rough for the first time in London had been evicted from their property, and almost two-thirds of people had been living in some form of long-term accommodation immediately prior to sleeping rough. The proportion of people sleeping rough who have no significant support needs has also increased substantially, with 28 per cent in 2022/23 having no reported support needs, compared to 20 per cent in 2018/19 – indicating many more people are sleeping rough for reasons relating to arrears and other financial problems.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The most recent figures for rough sleeping in London are deeply alarming. The cost-of-living crisis is putting more and more Londoners at risk of losing their homes and ending up with nowhere to go.
“That’s why I’m delivering an additional £20m in funding to expand my Life off the Streets Programme. From emergency accommodation, to outreach and training, this new funding will boost pan-London support services and help ensure that those sleeping rough can access the vital help they need quicker, and leave the streets for good.”
“It is one of my top priorities as Mayor is to end rough sleeping in the capital for good, and create a better, fairer London for all.”
Since taking office, the Mayor has rapidly expanded the number of pan-London rough sleeping services that City Hall funds and commissions. Since 2016, the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Programme has supported over 15,500 people to leave the streets for good, alleviating the suffering and indignity associated with rough sleeping. However, the Mayor’s pioneering ‘In for Good’ principle meant that, following intervention from City Hall-funded services, more than 75 per cent of those who received support were not seen sleeping rough again.
At £36.3m, the rough sleeping budget in 2023/24 is now more than four times the £8.45m a year it was when Sadiq Khan took office. This includes £12.1m of City Hall funding and £23.5m secured from the Government.
In addition to record levels of investment, the Mayor – alongside London Councils, Homeless Link, Bloomberg Associates and the Department for Work and Pensions – has also today launched the capital’s biggest-ever career fair for the homelessness and rough sleeping sector. Held at BOXPARK in Wembley, the London Career Fair brings together more than 40 homelessness and rough sleeping services to attract new talent into the workforce and hire staff for frontline roles.