Sadiq Khan doubles London’s rough-sleeper funding


Sadiq Khan will double spending to tackle rough-sleeping in London. The Mayor has now pledged almost £20million to stop people from sleeping on the streets of the Capital.

Last year, almost 9,000 people slept rough in London – more than double the number just eight years ago, and up 18% on 2017/18 alone.

On average, two rough sleepers die every day in England and Wales, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

One in three people living on the streets have been attacked, and 30% of women have been sexually assaulted, research by Crisis found.

The Mayor’s new funding will pay for existing shelters in London to open for longer hours over winter.

Mr Khan will also open two new shelters for people at risk of sleeping rough for the first time, with 24-hour housing advice to help them avoid a night on the streets.

And there will be a new service for long-term rough sleepers, providing short-term housing and specialist support.

In addition, NHS staff will be sent out with outreach workers to provide accessible mental health services.

Half of all rough sleepers in London need mental health support, and more than 40% have problems with alcohol or drug use, according to CHAIN data.

The Mayor said the number of rough-sleepers in London was a “national disgrace”. He said: “This funding will support a wide range of projects, helping people who are already sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, and ensure they are given the best possible chance of pursuing a life off the streets.

“But we can’t do it alone. The government must urgently address the root causes of rough sleeping, and reverse their policies which are forcing people on to the streets in the first place – including reversing welfare cuts and funding more council and social housing.”

Bill Tidman, chief executive of London homelessness charity Thames Reach, said:  “Rough sleeping is dangerous and degrading.  The best thing is to prevent people needing to sleep rough, but when they do it’s important that they are found and offered shelter as quickly as possible.

“We welcome this funding which will make this easier this winter by providing more outreach staff and more emergency accommodation.”