St Mungo’s responds to latest CHAIN statistics

    • In total, 4068 people were recorded as rough sleeping in the capital between Jul-Sep 2023, this is an increase of 12% on the same period last year. 
    • 2086 people rough sleeping for the first time, a 13% increase on the same figure this time last year. 
    • 481 people deemed to be living on the streets, 17% higher than the immediately preceding period (Apr-Jun) 
    • 1561 people were intermittently rough sleeping, 16% higher than the same period last year. 

     

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

    “As the UK homelessness crisis escalates, the latest rough sleeping data for London shows record numbers of people forced to sleep on the streets. Of particular concern is the large increase in non-UK nationals, who represented 52.6% of people sleeping rough in the capital during July to September. The pressure of these rising figures is being felt across St Mungo’s, as requests for immigration advice and emergency housing increases. 

    “It is fantastic that people are receiving decisions on their asylum claims, but many are facing inadequate time to prepare before they must leave Home Office accommodation. Our outreach teams are meeting more and more refugees on the streets. Being granted refugee status in the UK should be an immensely positive time in someone’s life, but finding yourself homeless is anything but a warm welcome to the country. There needs to be a proper transition plan that enables people to access benefits, housing and employment, rather than being forced onto the streets.  

    “When individuals have limited or unclear entitlements to public funds due to their immigration status, we must do more to help. To alleviate homelessness and destitution for this vulnerable group, there must be sufficient funding and a clear directive from central Government to support people to resolve their homelessness through the provision of accommodation, independent immigration advice, and support to engage in the advice.” 

    Thames Charity row raises thousands for St Mungo’s

    This month, Group Director of Repairs and Maintenance at Peabody, Neil Watts presented a £16,000 cheque to St Mungo’s following a 200km row from Reading to Leigh on Sea, via London. Neil visited St Mungo’s Endsleigh Gardens to hand over the cheque and to see firsthand where the funds will make a difference to the lives of those recovering from homelessness.

    The Charity row on the River Thames was in memory of the late Lord Bob Kerslake, who was the Chair for the Peabody Trust. Lord Kerslake sadly passed away in July this year. Neil wanted to honour Bob’s work and his commitment to ending homelessness by rowing to raise funds for St Mungo’s. St Mungo’s is the secretariat for The Kerslake Commission.

    Neil, with a team of four, rowed for five days, went through 20 locks, weaved through heavy boat traffic and bridges and navigated some difficult weather conditions to reach the finish line.

    Neil said: “I was really excited to be taking part in this charity row, supporting St Mungo’s and our late chair, Bob.

    “It’s important to Peabody that we continue his incredible work, so choosing a charity that’s dedicated to ending homelessness is the perfect fit.

    “Thank you all for your generous support and in joining together in memory of Bob and his tremendous career of service”.

    Reta Robinson, Director of Fundraising at St Mungo’s said: “On behalf of everyone at St Mungo’s, we were deeply saddened to learn of the devastating passing of Lord Bob Kerslake. Bob was a dedicated champion of the homelessness sector, with a deep-rooted commitment to end rough sleeping.

    “We are extremely touched by Neil and the team fundraising for St Mungo’s whilst remembering Lord Kerslake’s life and legacy.”

    Government figures show homelessness at record high amidst spiralling housing affordability crisis.

    Today, Friday 13 October, new figures released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show that homelessness has reached a record high. 298,430 households faced homelessness in England in 2022/23, up by 6.8% compared to the previous year.  The number of households in temporary accommodation was recorded at 104,510, also the highest on record. 

    Rapidly rising rents and a lack of security means that there was a 27.4% increase in the number of households who faced homelessness due to a private rented tenancy coming to an end. Meanwhile there was a 30.5% increase in people assessed by the local authority as sleeping rough. 

    Responding to these figures, Emma Haddad, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: 

    “Today sees yet more devastating evidence of how the lack of affordable housing is resulting in thousands of people unable to keep a roof over their heads and literally forcing people onto the streets. 

    It doesn’t have to be this way. There are interventions that would prevent people getting to the brink of homelessness and reverse this homelessness crisis. Today I have written to the Chancellor, along with colleagues across the sector, imploring him once again to raise housing benefit so that it covers the bottom 30% of local rents, as per the Government’s own stated policy, rather than just 5% of rented accommodation as now. The human impact is clear, as is the benefit to the public purse: the freeze on housing benefit is feeding a growing temporary accommodation bill that cost at least £1.6b last year.”  

     

    First-person account from a London Outreach Worker at St Mungo’s 

    The number of people we’re seeing on the streets is increasing. We’re seeing more people because of section 21 notices and landlords putting rent up and a lot younger people who we’d never see before.  There are too many people for the provisions that we have. We need more spaces in services. In some areas there can be hotspots of 20-30 people sleeping rough and day centres can see up to 100 people coming a day sometimes.  

    Often the people we’re seeing never would have traditionally used our services before. They’re people who have never rough slept and have gone to their local authorities but are still not being housed as their not high enough priority, so are slipping through the net.  

    People are also moving through services slower. It’s so hard to get people into private rented now because rent prices are so much higher and are over the local housing allowance most of the time. So, we’re really struggling to match people with affordable property, which means people are having to stay on the streets longer, which is really difficult.  

    Rough sleeping at any point is always going to be traumatic, living with that fear and feeling of becoming the ‘other’. But often the longer people are on the streets, the harder it can become to support them away. We’re seeing a lot younger people become homeless due to things like landlords raising their rent prices.   

    If you’re under 35 and haven’t lived in supported accommodation or been in care, for example, for three months. You’re not exempt from the local housing tax. So, whilst you’d be entitled to a room in a shared house, with the rising rent costs, it just isn’t enough.   

    The local housing allowance sometimes isn’t even covering the rents. And then if people are having to use a Universal Credit to cover that shortfall, it leaves them with nothing. Most people will get £320 a month, if you have to say take even 100 pounds out of that, it’s a significant amount.  

    Often people become trapped in a benefit cycle where it isn’t affordable for them to get a job. Most of our clients don’t want to remain on credit, they want to find employment but it’s becoming harder.  

    The effect of all of this is difficult. The focus of our team is doing assessments. If we meet someone tonight, we’ll be doing an assessment on the street, understanding how we can support them and what that action plan is to solve their homelessness. But often there’s not that immediate solution. So, you still have to walk away which is really tough.  

    It’s heartbreaking walking away from people and not having a safe place you can give them.  

    Compared to this time last year, this period feels much busier and the flow on the streets is faster. Whilst the move through services feels slower, as people are having to wait for longer term accommodation for longer.  

    We’re also seeing more making self-referrals and actively asking for that help themselves.  

    During the pandemic, rough sleeping was seen as a health emergency and eligibility wasn’t part of the equation of who was given housing because it was a life saving measure which was incredible. It really shone a light on what we can do with the right resources provided. But now we’ve moved away from that again and the options aren’t there. It’s not as straightforward as let’s get you inside and get you a good sleep which is frustrating.   

    We’re also seeing people who are in employment becoming homeless, because a lot of the work that’s available like hospitality, isn’t near affordable housing. So, when they get a job they can’t be anywhere near where they’re working and to travel in and out of work is expensive. So, there’s often lots of layers.   

    “One of my most treasured experiences with St Mungo’s” – The Client Challenge 2023

    Person-centred support is so important when helping people recover from homelessness, engaging people in ways which bring out their unique talents and interests. We run events throughout the year so that the people we support can experience new things and explore what matters to them outside of homelessness. 

    Here, Regional Fundraising Coordinator Alexandra Henden talks about one of our most recent events, a camping and walking weekend in Dorset.

    This weekend I supported on the St Mungo’s Client Challenge which is an annual event where we bring together staff, volunteers and clients from all areas of the charity. We camp together and organise a walking challenge on both days with the option to stay behind enjoying other activities if walking isn’t for you, so it’s completely accessible.

    This year the challenge took place in Dorset and brought together our services in Bristol, Bournemouth and London. On the walks, we got to see some wonderfully picturesque spots in the wooded lowlands and the coast of Lulworth Cove, and in the evenings, there were creative activities including illustration and T-shirt printing, skill-building workshops on bushcraft, and music around the campfire.

    I have to say it will be up there as one of my most treasured experiences with St Mungo’s; discovering somewhere new, joining together in an activity and connecting a wonderful array of people from the charity across two days.

    Clients were also really enthused, and you can read a few of their quotes below:

    “A massive thanks to you and the rest of the staff as it was the best camping trip I’ve been on and my anxiety didn’t bother me all weekend”

    “I’m glad I went. And I’m also proud that I managed to travel home from Waterloo by myself, that’s boosted my confidence as well.”

    “Thanks for a great weekend really enjoyed it can’t wait for next one”

    To keep up to date with all our events, and the incredible work of our colleagues, volunteers and clients, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also find out about how you can get involved and support us in our goal of ending homelessness.

     

Go back