Cost of living crisis will become a homelessness crisis without immediate intervention

    Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has warned that without urgent intervention the cost of living crisis will become a homelessness crisis.

    The Government’s latest Snapshot Rough Sleeping figures released today (28 February 2023) shows that on a single night in autumn 2022 there were 3,069 people seen sleeping rough in England.

    That is an increase of more than a quarter (26%) on the previous year’s total of 2,440 – with the number of people sleeping rough increasing in every region of England.

    The data also shows:

    • the number of women sleeping rough is up by 45%, increasing from 320 to 464,
    • an increase in the number of people aged between 18-25 sleeping rough. Up from 110 in 2021 to 192 in 2022,
    • Westminster, has the highest number of people sleeping rough in the country, and has seen an increase from 187 in 2021 to 250 in 2022.

    Responding to the figures, St Mungo’s Chief Executive Emma Haddad said “The increase in the number of people sleeping rough shows the stark effect of the cost of living crisis. Our frontline teams are increasingly seeing people who are losing their homes and ending up on the streets because they can no longer afford their rent, energy bills and food.

    “And while the Government has clearly made efforts to support people to manage during these difficult times, much more needs to be done urgently to prevent those who are on the brink falling into homelessness.

    “In two weeks the Chancellor will deliver his Spring Budget. We urge him to use it to increase housing benefit to ensure people can afford their rents. And for the Government to legislate the Renters’ Reform Bill abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions and reducing the number of people becoming street homeless. Failure to act will see this cost of living crisis become a homelessness crisis.

    “But whatever we face, St Mungo’s teams will continue to work day in, day out to ensure anyone sleeping rough is offered the help and support they need to move off the streets.”

    In the areas where the St Mungo’s operates, the numbers show a:

    • 28% increase in London, from 640 to 858 people,
    • 13% increase in the South West, from 334 to 413 people, and
    • 19 % increase in the South East, from 445 to 572 people.

    The snapshot figures are based on a single night street count which every local authority in England undertakes each year during October and November, or estimates from local councils which are verified and agreed by Homeless Link.

    It does not include people who live in hostels or other temporary accommodation.

    St Mungo’s is recommending the following shorter and longer term actions to help people experiencing or at risk of homelessness:

    • The Government should unfreeze and restore Local Housing Allowance rates so that they cover the bottom 30th percentile of rents.
    • The Government should urgently legislate the Renters Reform Bill, in order to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions and reduce numbers arriving onto the streets.
    • People with unclear or limited entitlements due to their immigration status should be included in means-tested cost of living support packages.
    • Increase grant funding delivered through the Affordable Homes Programme and commit the funds from the Right to Buy scheme to a strategic acquisition programme to deliver more social rented homes.
    • Increase the supply of supported housing through delivering investment programmes that align capital and revenue funding.


    St Mungo’s recognised as Stonewall Top 100 Employer

    Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has once again been named as one of the most inclusive employers in the UK.

    The organisation has been ranked at number 24 in recognition of its commitment to inclusion of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people in the workplace.

    Stonewall has also awarded St Mungo’s a prestigious Gold Award, which celebrates organisations that go above and beyond to empower LGBTQIA+ staff members to be themselves at work.

    For the great inclusion work achieved by its LGBTQIA+ employee network group, St Mungo’s has also received a Highly Commended Network Group award.

    Emma Haddad, Chief Executive at St Mungo’s said:

    One of the reasons that I joined St Mungo’s was its genuine commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

    “I have seen myself the fabulous colleague networks we have which support and encourage people to be their true selves while at work.

    “It is fantastic to have this recognised by Stonewall with the inclusion in its Top 100 list and to have been given the Gold Award and Network Group award. We will continue working with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues to ensure we are truly inclusive.”

    Alice Moore, Head of Involvement and Inclusion, at St Mungo’s said:

    “I see every day the great work at St Mungo’s, ensuring all staff are supported and celebrated. We passionately believe our values, consciously working to make sure we are genuinely inclusive. It means a great deal for our great work to be recognised by Stonewall.”

    The Stonewall Top 100 Employers chart the best performing employers on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2022, an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff.
    Equality and diversity are central to St Mungo’s values and the charity ensures that LGBTQIA+ awareness and inclusion are part of how clients and staff are supported.

    The St Mungo’s LGBTQIA+ Network inputs into diversity training, internal policy reviews and supports staff; raises awareness of LGBTQIA+ equality through LGBT History Month, nationwide Pride events and influences organisations development and service provision.


    St Mungo’s issues cold weather warning during freezing temperatures

    Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is warning of the extreme dangers cold weather presents to people sleeping rough as freezing temperatures continue to sweep the country.

    The Met office have issued a cold weather warning alert, which has prompted many councils to activate their emergency response. This is designed to help people who are street homeless stay safe during extreme weather.

    Known as ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)’ the plans see increased outreach shifts and more accommodation made available, with the aim of ensuing nobody has to sleep on the streets during such extreme conditions.

    SWEP has been activated in the following areas where St Mungo’s operates:

    • Across London
    • Oxford
    • Reading
    • Bristol

    In London the provision is reviewed daily. In all other areas SWEP will be active until at least Wednesday 8 February and then reviewed on a daily basis.

    St Mungo’s Outreach Teams have increased the number of routine shifts being carried out across the activated cities and will continue to ensure that everybody who is on the streets is offered a safe and warm space to stay indoors overnight.

    Hannah Faulkner, Head of Rough Sleeping Services at St Mungo’s said: “These low temperatures can kill people who are street homeless and it is absolutely right this is treated as an emergency.

    “As ever St Mungo’s teams are prepared to respond to this this critical situation. We will continue to work tirelessly around the clock to ensure that people are brought into the safe and warm.

    “During periods of cold and extreme weather it is essential that members of the public, people experiencing homelessness and other support services are all aware that additional accommodation and support is available.

    “Anyone who is concerned about a person who is street homeless should contact StreetLink. And, as ever, if someone is in an emergency situation people should call 999.”

    StreetLink operates 24 hours a day, 365 day a year with alerts being passed to local outreach teams who then use the information to find and support people sleeping rough.

    Find out more here –

    For further updates on the severe weather provision follow St Mungo’s Twitter account – @StMungos

    How Leigh Creates an Inclusive Workplace for their LGBTQIA+ Colleagues

    Leigh is a Service Manager in Hither Green. As part of LGBTQIA+ History Month, we asked them about what being part of the LGBTQIA+ community whilst working with people who experience homelessness means to them.

    I went to school during Section 28 , so my formative years growing up were in an era when there was no positive representation for people like me. I am proud of my queer identity, and it influences every corner of my life. So for me it’s important to show that positive relationship I have with my identity in the workplace for queer staff and residents. I have had really great conversations with our residents about my non-binary gender identity, smashing the stigma about people who’ve experienced homelessness and how people assume they might respond to difference. Similarly, it feels so important to be a positive representation for young queer staff who hopefully benefit from my vision of a bold and inclusive workplace.

    I have always been keen to maintain a client facing role because the most rewarding part of the work for me is the relationship we build with our residents. As someone who benefited from St Mungo’s services almost 10 years ago, I understand the importance of relationship building and the importance that plays in helping our clients thrive.

    My first homelessness job was actually with St Mungo’s in 2016, I was a support navigator for Waltham Forest Single Homelessness Advice and Support Service. I worked assessing and supporting the single homeless population in the borough. I absolutely loved getting to know people and how fast paced the work with people who were sleeping rough was.

    Before coming to Spring Gardens I had taken a sabbatical. Like many others in the sector, I had found working though the pandemic difficult and prioritised my own wellbeing, so I was refreshed in my desire to help others. My previous employment was as London Services Manager for AKT an LGBTQIA+ youth homelessness charity. I managed services ranging from an advice and support service to a network of LGBTQIA+ supported lodging placements.

    My role predominately involves overseeing a team of four managers who manage more than twenty staff across the two sites. The great thing about the project is no one day is ever the same and there is always a challenge to find a solution for. I work really hard to set a culture that is client focused, inclusive and bold.

    We can’t end homelessness until we tackle the structural barriers in this country and see major changes to the way we view social needs. For me, that means decriminalising drugs, prison reform, a new asylum system, defunding the police and investing in specialist social teams and services. Most importantly the government needs to invest and build more affordable homes and supporting people into them and to sustain them.

    National Apprenticeship Week

    Nine years ago Dan found himself experiencing homelessness after his Landlord sold the property he was living in. He struggled to find a new tenancy that would accept him, and his beloved dog, Moby.

    After sleeping rough in Brighton, he and Moby were supported into safe accommodation by St Mungo’s. Today, he works as an Apprentice Assessment and Reconnection Worker in a No Second Night Out (NSNO) service in London.

    We asked him about his experiences of being an apprentice at St Mungo’s:

    My average day as an Apprentice Assessment and Reconnection Worker is hectic. Pretty much anything that can happen, will happen , and the best laid plans sometimes have to be shelved in favour of taking a more dynamic approach.

    My day starts with a team handover meeting to discuss any issues that may have arisen overnight. After this, I liaise with the Duty Team for that day and we discuss anything that needs to be achieved, any clients that need special attention and which admin tasks can be covered. After this, I like to check my emails for any client referral updates and any specific tasks that have been allocated to me. Then I will turn my attention to casework, the clients that I need to see or support and of course, any referrals that need chasing up. It’s easy to get caught up with outstanding tasks in any given day, but I always try to make sure that the people we support at NSNO are at the forefront of how I organise my time and prioritise tasks.

    My previous career was in the hospitality industry, so undertaking an apprenticeship within St Mungo’s has helped me to develop my transferable skills in terms of working within the adult social care sector. It’s also given me the knowledge that I needed so that I have a strong foundation to build on for the future.

    The apprenticeship scheme has introduced subject areas that I didn’t have an understanding of previously, such as how our services are commissioned, and the effect that personalisation within care and support has had on how we deliver those services. Learning about these different areas as part of the Apprenticeship Programme has also shown me how my career could develop in the future. Overall, undertaking an apprenticeship has given me the space to learn and access to new knowledge that will make my change in career a sustainable one.

    My time so far at St Mungo’s has been everything I thought it would be, but one moment stands out particularly. Someone told me when I started at NSNO that I would never forget the first person that I had supported and that was true. This particular person had extremely poor mental health and required some particular support while at NSNO to manage this. They also found the environment challenging to be in. When they told me that their referral had come through and they had viewed where they would be moving, their happiness was obvious and I was so happy for them. It really is something that will never leave me and why I wanted to do this work.

    I would tell anyone that was thinking about doing an apprenticeship that it is more challenging than you may expect, but that it’s definitely worth the effort you put in! I have a degree in History so I thought that the written work would be easier for me but it takes lots of time to produce work of the quality to meet merit or distinction standard. You also have to be prepared to keep the boundary of taking the twenty percent protected time for the apprenticeship, because if you don’t, it’s easy to get behind! However, if you want a strong foundation on which to base your career, then it is well worth the extra effort and after all, it’s only going to be 15 months!

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