Funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Greater London Authority, alongside support from St Mungo’s, will provide vital extra time for 148 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough this winter.
National homelessness charities Crisis and St Mungo’s are teaming up for a third year, along with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), to extend the hotel-based Crisis at Christmas service in London further into the new year.
The hotel provision, which provides each guest with their own private room, along with a dedicated support worker and access to housing and benefit advice, will now run until 19th January 2024. This extension, made possible by funding from DLUHC and support from the GLA, as well as the generous support of the public, will see nearly 150 people, who would otherwise be sleeping rough, being given the best possible chance of leaving homelessness behind.
Typically, Crisis’ long-running Christmas provision comes to an end shortly after the new year, following a two-week period where guests are given somewhere safe and warm to sleep, three meals a day, companionship and expert advice from Crisis staff and volunteers.
The extension of hotel-based support will mean guests have somewhere secure and comfortable to stay during some of the coldest weeks of the year, alongside access to additional services including mental health and substance-misuse support.
For the last two years providing a safe place to stay and access to support services, including St Mungo’s specialist move-on support, for an extended period has benefitted guests who have experienced rough sleeping for longer and have more complex needs.
Crisis Chief Executive, Matt Downie, said: “Extending our hotel provision in London gives our guests, and the staff and volunteers they’ll be working with, crucial extra time to work on practical and sustainable plans to end their homelessness. In these extra weeks, guests will continue to receive tailored one-to-one support and will be provided with clear routes into year-round services on offer from organisations like Crisis.
“I’m delighted that, now for the third year in a row, we have been able to come together as a sector, and we are hugely grateful for the support that the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Greater London Authority have been able to offer. Providing people with their own hotel room, alongside specialist and personalised support, is a dignified and proven approach that can, and does, changes lives.”
St Mungo’s Director of Rough-Sleeping Services, James Lally, said: “Safe, warm and decent accommodation is the foundation on which we all build, and rebuild, our lives. With a roof over our heads we can protect ourselves from violence, establish healthy, supportive relationships and build hope and optimism for the future. None of us should be without it, though tragically many are.
“We know that people are more likely to escape homelessness if they are supported to do so from somewhere safe to stay. This vital funding extends that support to some of the most excluded people during the coldest time of the year. Once again, it enables St Mungo’s and Crisis to work together to support as many people as possible to leave homelessness behind for good.
Felicity Buchan MP, Minister for Housing and Homelessness said: “We are very pleased to be able to provide additional funding for the extension of the Crisis at Christmas provision this winter. This funding forms part of the £2 billion the government is investing over 3 years in tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, including £188 million through the Rough Sleeping Initiative in London. The Crisis at Christmas provision is designed to work with those sleeping rough who are least likely to access accommodation and support and is thus central to delivering our shared ambition to end rough sleeping in London”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m extremely pleased to support Crisis and St Mungo’s as they extend the provision of safe hotel accommodation for nearly 150 people sleeping rough this Christmas.
“No-one deserves to sleep rough on the streets, which is why I’m doing all that I can to end the cycle of homelessness for thousands of Londoners. Since becoming Mayor, I have quadrupled City Hall’s rough sleeping budget, helping over 16,000 people to leave the streets for good.
“I have also launched my winter rough sleeping campaign to fundraise for frontline homelessness charities in the capital this winter. I urge all Londoners to consider donating a few pounds to the campaign — every contribution makes a huge difference to the lives of those sleeping rough.”