Our history of helping homeless people

St Mungo's began helping people sleeping rough off the streets in 1969. It then developed many ground breaking services including; the first specialist project solely for mentally ill rough sleepers, funded by the Government; the first specialist project solely for rough sleepers who drink heavily; the only specialist project solely for elderly rough sleepers and, more recently, the first Recovery College in the homelessness sector.

In April 2014 St Mungo's merged with homelessness Broadway. Broadway was created on 1 April 2002 from the merger of two London charities that, between them, had been supporting homeless people for more than 20 years. Broadway always recognised that the solutions to homelessness were as varied, complex and individual as the people it supported. Its services, projects and activities delivered practical support and guidance to help homeless and vulnerably housed adults on their journey from street to home. 

See St Mungo's annual review on our Annual Review page.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why are you named after St Mungo?

St Mungo's gained its name in 1969 when a group of volunteers started pushing a pram around London to deliver food to the many homeless people sleeping rough at that time. One of those was from Glasgow and, when asked for the name of the group, they chose St Mungo's - the nickname of Saint Kentigern, the patron saint of Glasgow and protector of wandering Celts.

As Charles Fraser, St Mungo's chief executive for almost 20 years, explained more about the charity's history in an interview with The Guardian on St Mungo's 40th anniversary: "A Christian saint's name would stop police hassling workers on soup runs - they thought they were reverends."

The group then went on to manage its first hostel, a former Marmite factory in Vauxhall, South London, and from there continued developing.