Home Business News ‘Unbearable’ cost-of-living pressures force growing numbers of Londoners onto the streets

‘Unbearable’ cost-of-living pressures force growing numbers of Londoners onto the streets

by LLB political Reporter
14th Dec 23 11:18 am

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today launched his annual winter rough sleeping fundraising campaign, urging Londoners to join him in his mission to help end rough sleeping in London.

With the alarming rise in the cost-of-living worsening the capital’s crisis in rough sleeping, the Mayor is outlining how there has never been a more important time to support homelessness charities.

City Hall is working with charity partner TAP London this winter to raise money for frontline homelessness services in the capital so that they can continue their life-saving work. Since 2017, Londoners have donated over £700,000 to nominated rough sleeping charities, helping to fund vital initiatives, projects and support services.

Tackling rough sleeping in the capital has been a top priority for the Mayor since taking office. At £36.3m, the GLA rough sleeping budget in 2023/24 is now more than four times the £8.45m a year it was when Sadiq took office.

The Mayor’s pioneering ‘In for Good’ principle has meant, following intervention from City Hall-funded services, more than 75 per cent of those who received support were not seen sleeping rough again. More than 16,000 rough sleepers have been helped off of the streets since Sadiq was elected Mayor in 2016.

Londoners can donate to the campaign at one of the TAP points across the capital or online. There are 35 TAP points, including at Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge and Liverpool Street stations.

Londoners can also use the StreetLink website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services.

Donations could provide a wide range of support:

  • £10 could cover the cost of a kettle and mugs for a person setting up home for the first time after sleeping rough.
  • £20 could help a rough sleeper to stay connected to their outreach worker with a smartphone.
  • £50 could cover two nights of accommodation for a rough sleeper in a lodgings scheme.
  • £500 could pay for two street outreach sessions per week, to locate and support people who are sleeping rough.

Sadiq has today announced that more than 5,000 people sleeping rough in the capital have been helped into new homes through Mayoral-backed programmes since 2021. This includes over 1,500 ‘move-on’ homes funded by City Hall, smashing a manifesto commitment to deliver 1,000 such homes.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:“Many of us will be out this weekend finishing our Christmas shopping and seeing friends. For increasing numbers, however, this festive season will be one of despair, especially for those who face yet another perilous winter sleeping on the streets.

“So today, I ask every Londoner to consider if they can afford donating a few pounds to our winter rough sleeping campaign. This will ensure that homelessness charities can continue their life-saving work this winter.

“Ending rough sleeping in the capital has been a top priority of mine ever since I took office, which is why I have quadrupled my rough sleeping budget and doubled down on efforts to help more people off the streets.

“I’m really pleased that as a result of City Hall’s programmes, 16,000 people have been taken off London’s streets, and more than 5000 people have a safe and secure home to call their own as they rebuild their lives and prepare for independent living.

“However, the stark reality is that the cost-of-living crisis is putting unbearable strain on households across the country and in the capital, causing a conveyor belt of rough sleepers on our streets. Despite the huge amount of work being done in London, current national policy risks making ending rough sleeping impossible, which is why the Government must urgently act to give those sleeping rough homes and hope this winter.”

Sadiq has delivered record funding to homelessness charities and service providers across the capital, including the Peter Bedford Scheme which has received £2.3m of mayoral funding from the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) to help more people sleeping rough rebuild their lives.

This includes purchasing, repairing and refurbishing 21 homes in Newham, which has the highest rate of homelessness in England, to be used by former rough sleepers, and providing dedicated support for up to three years to help individuals maintain their tenancies and transition towards independent living.

However, the Mayor is warning that current Government policy, and inaction on the cost of living, housebuilding and protection from eviction, is not only driving more people onto the streets, but also risks making his core mission to end rough sleeping in the capital for good an impossibility.

Latest analysis shows an alarming rise in rough sleeping across the country, including in London. The latest quarterly figures from the City Hall-funded Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) shows the number of people sleeping rough in London has risen by 12 per cent in the past year alone.

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