Mayor hits target for 1,000 homes for Londoners sleeping rough but warns of tough winter ahead

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today announced he has supported more than 1,000 Londoners sleeping rough into safe, warm, and supportive homes since he was re-elected Mayor last year, as he launched his annual winter rough sleeping fundraising campaign.

The Mayor has fulfilled his manifesto pledge to deliver more than 1,000 homes for Londoners sleeping rough 18 months ahead of his April 2024 target. This landmark achievement has been made possible thanks to the Mayor’s Move On Programme (MOP) and Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP), which provide capital and revenue funding to enable the delivery of homes with support to help Londoners sleeping rough towards housing independence. Across the two programmes, more than £120m of capital and £38m of revenue have been allocated to housing associations, local authorities, charities and other registered providers and support organisations, to support rough sleepers off the streets and into longer-term homes.

Examples of schemes funded by the RSAP include:

  • A 32-unit modular housing scheme in Haringey providing on-site support to people sleeping rough or housed in emergency accommodation from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A purchase and repair programme delivering 30 self-contained homes with support provided by the GLA commissioned tenancy sustainment teams.
  • Repurposing of social rented homes to deliver supported accommodation for rough sleepers with multiple complex needs.
  • A range of Housing First schemes delivering longer-term homes with accompanying support to help individuals sustain tenancies and live independently.

This achievement builds on the unprecedented support offered to Londoners sleeping rough by City Hall since Sadiq became Mayor. The Mayor’s rough sleeping budget has quadrupled since 2016, and more than 13,500 people have been helped off the street by City Hall services – a record number.

But Sadiq is warning that rising bills and housing costs are forcing growing numbers of people to sleep rough on London’s streets, with the latest quarterly figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) showing 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.

Reports from those within the sector suggest this rise is in part due to cost of living pressures. The rate of consumer price inflation (CPI) hit 11.1 per cent in the 12 months to October 2022. The cost of renting has also risen dramatically – analysis from Hometrack suggests that annual London rental inflation had risen to almost 18 per cent by July. Households are also likely to face further financial challenges in the coming months from higher energy bills and borrowing costs.

The Mayor is repeating his call on Government to:

  • Immediately freeze private sector rents – saving the average London renter nearly £3,000 over two years.
  • Reinstate the social security safety net which prevents people from becoming homeless. This must include lifting the benefit cap, unfreezing Local Housing Allowance rates and suspending the habitual residence test, which can restrict access to benefits for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals with rights to live in the UK.
  • Give local authorities the funding needed to meet their duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act and properly providing local support services which are vital to preventing and ending homelessness, such as drug and alcohol treatment.
  • Deliver the promised reforms to the Private Rented Sector, including ending Section 21 evictions.
  • Take measures to stop refugees and asylum seekers being pushed into homelessness. This includes extending the move-on period for newly recognised refugees from 28 days to 56 days, in line with local authorities’ duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act.
  • Suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition, which puts many people with NRPF status at serious risk of destitution and homelessness.

Sadiq today also launched his annual winter rough sleeping fundraising campaign during a visit to a No Second Night Out assessment accommodation service in Waterloo which provides people with their own room whilst they receive specialist support, including housing advice, and health and immigration support. The hotel was initially used as part of Everyone In – the initiative to ensure that rough sleepers at risk of Covid-19 were safely accommodated during the pandemic, which was pioneered in London. It was one of 16 City Hall-procured hotels that supported over 1,700 people.

City Hall is 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. 

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 your donation 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: “I’m pleased that City Hall’s programmes have taken over 13,500 rough sleepers off London streets, with over three quarters moving on to longer term accommodation under our ‘In for Good’ policies. It’s wonderful that more than 1,000 people have permanent safe, warm homes as we work to build a fairer London for everyone. But extraordinary financial pressures are threatening to reverse the progress made since 2016 and particularly during the pandemic when more than 10,000 people were helped off the streets and into hotels by City Hall and London boroughs. The poorest Londoners are at growing risk of homelessness with the number of people sleeping rough already up by a fifth year on year, and we are increasingly seeing people ending up homeless as a result of this escalating cost of living crisis.

“I’m confident Londoners will once again show their generosity by backing my winter fundraising campaign and helping to support Londoners who find themselves homeless. But to end rough sleeping in our capital, particularly amid the cost of living crisis, the Government must intervene to prevent the circumstances that lead to people sleeping rough before thousands more are forced to face a winter on the streets.”

St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeping, Petra Salva OBE said: “Our teams are out in the streets of London 365 days of the year and see first had the damage and harm sleeping rough causes to people. The services we provide, many of which are funded by the Mayor’s office, offer a vital lifeline and direct help to get people off the streets as quickly as possible. It is testament to the hard work of our staff and volunteers – and colleagues in other homelessness organisations – that more than 1,000 people have been supported to exit rough sleeping in this way across London. 

“We are acutely aware of the increased dangers people sleeping rough face, which will increase as the temperatures fall, and the cost of living crisis is likely to force more people onto the streets this winter. But, with our partners in local authorities and the GLA, our teams will continue to work tirelessly to make every night someone’s last on the streets.” 

Phil Kerry, CEO, New Horizon Youth Centre: “Our numbers indicate that a busload of young Londoners become homeless every single day. Worryingly, at New Horizon we already see the situation for young people worsening due to the cost of living crisis, putting many at risk of harm and rough sleeping. We are therefore grateful for the Mayor’s support of our Youth Hub for young people sleeping rough and his winter fundraising campaign for youth homelessness charities in London. With many young people struggling to get support from their council, we share the Mayor’s call to Government for local authority funding to help us to prevent any person ending up on the streets in the first place.”  

Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive of Youth Homelessness, Centrepoint, said: “We are so grateful to the Mayor of London for his continued commitment to ending homelessness in London. Thanks to the generosity  of ordinary Londoners, TAP has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Centrepoint in the last year and, with increasing an number of young people facing homelessness and rising operating costs both in the city and across the country, that support is now more vital than ever. There will be over 4,000 young people facing homelessness in London this Christmas and this money will help provide some of them with a safe place to stay and the support they need to find a stable home and start work or education.”

Throughout his mayoralty, Sadiq has made addressing London’s homelessness crisis a personal priority. Pioneering services set up by the Mayor include his Rapid Response outreach team and his pan-London trigger for emergency accommodation when temperatures fall below freezing, as well as City Hall’s country-leading response to accommodating rough sleepers in the face of COVID-19.

Sadiq is doing all he can to offer support to Londoners and is spending more than £80m this year to help those struggling with the rising cost of living. That includes more than £50m to tackle fuel poverty through the Mayor’s Warmer Homes programme and energy advice services, more than £20m to improve security for private renters and house Londoners who are rough sleeping or homeless, more than £5m to connect Londoners with welfare advice, and £400,000 to tackle food insecurity.