On the anniversary of Everyone In, St Mungo’s reflects on the past year and looks to the future

    Exactly one year ago today (26 March) then Homelessness Minister Luke Hall MP wrote to all local authorities, calling on them to get ‘everyone in’, and ensure every person who was sleeping rough or at risk of doing so, had access to safe, self-contained accommodation during the pandemic.

    Everyone In – as it has become known – has resulted in thousands of people being helped off the streets, in to emergency accommodation and, for many, on to a permanent home.

    To mark the anniversary, leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is reflecting on the last 12 months and highlighting the achievements of the initiative; and urging all partners involved, including national, regional and local government, health agencies, homelessness organisations and housing associations, to build on its success and convert this emergency response in to every-day working.

    In one year, St Mungo’s has:

    • Managed 30 hotels across London, Bristol, Bournemouth, Brighton, Oxford and Reading, nine of which are still open
    • Helped more than 4,000 people who were sleeping rough or in communal night shelters to isolate safely in empty hotels or other emergency accommodation
    • Supported nearly 1,500 people to make positive moves from emergency accommodation into longer-term housing
    • Recruited 400 volunteers who have worked a total of 2,500 shifts in 22,500 hours
    • Provided 210,000 food deliveries to 810 clients across 34 services

    St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Steve Douglas CBE, said: “The last 12 months have been such a difficult time for so many people and my thoughts are with anyone who has lost a loved one or been affected by this awful virus.

    “Through these terrible times we have also seen some amazing compassion and humanity, and just how resilient we can be.

    “The Covid-19 public health emergency thrust the issue of street homelessness, and the serious medical issues it can cause, sharply into public focus. And through innovative, flexible and creative partnership working thousands of people have been helped to move off the streets.

    “I am so proud of all our teams and grateful to our many partners with whom we have worked, all have contributed to this huge effort during these challenging times.

    “St Mungo’s staff and volunteers, backed by our donors and corporate partners, and with support from across different departments and different levels of government, have worked tirelessly to make sure as many people as possible have been helped.

    “It has been an unprecedented time with unprecedented achievements, and we know it has saved hundreds of lives,” he said.

    Joshua, who was supported by St Mungo’s during the pandemic, said: “I was confused about my direction after becoming homeless, but during the first lockdown and the introduction of ‘Everyone In’, it all turned around for me and the support I have received from St Mungo’s has been a blessing.

    “The dedication and kindness of the numerous staff and army of volunteers has been a steadying influence in my life, they have lifted me when I have been down, protected me when I was most vulnerable, and comforted me when I felt displaced, and I am wholeheartedly grateful to every single one of them for helping me to take that first step towards moving away from homelessness.”

    This week a new independent commission to examine what can be learnt from the last year has been announced. Chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping will look at the lesson from Everyone In and feed in to Government.

    Mr Douglas, who is an adviser to the Commission, continued: “We have seen what can be achieved when we work together. We have learned so much, we must capture that and improve so that we can help more people, either by preventing them from coming to the streets in the first place, or helping them move away from them for good.

    “The last year has taught us that with the will, the drive and the resources, ending rough sleeping is possible. And St Mungo’s is ready to work with our charity colleagues, health service providers, and partners in local and national government to achieve that crucially important aim.”

    To mark the achievements of the past year, St Mungo’s will be highlighting some of the life-changing work done using #WhenWeWorkTogether via its social media accounts.

    To find out more visit the dedicated web page where you will find a videos from St Mungo’s teams from across the country, clients detailing their experiences during the last year, and a message from St Mungo’s patron TV presenter Phil Spencer.

    St Mungo’s welcomes formation of new Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness as a ‘watershed moment’

    The charity will provide the secretariat support to the Kerslake Commission

    Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has welcomed the formation of a new independent Commission established to examine and learn the lessons from the emergency response which supported people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic, describing it as a ‘watershed moment’.

    Chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, was announced today (23 March).

    It aims to help all agencies involved in supporting those who are sleeping rough, or homeless and at risk of rough sleeping; to understand what worked during the pandemic, and what is now needed to embed the good practice developed during the past year.

    There will be lessons for government at national, regional and local levels, and public health agencies, as well as the homelessness sector and providers.

    St Mungo’s, which has so far helped more than 4,000 people into emergency accommodation since the first lockdown, is providing the secretariat function to the Commission.

    Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE, who is advising the Commission, said: “A year ago this week saw the start of Everyone In, the public health emergency response to ensure that everyone sleeping on the street was provided with secure and safe accommodation, and the support that they needed.

    “Since then we have seen an unprecedented effort from charities, frontline service providers, health and social services, local and central government to help people move away from sleeping rough for good.

    “Lives have been saved, opportunities seized and it is clear just what can be achieved when we work together.

    “St Mungo’s is pleased to be supporting Lord Kerslake in this vitally important work, and to also have one of our former clients on the Advisory Board.

    “This has to be a watershed moment. Through this Commission we have the opportunity to listen, learn and change the way we address homelessness and rough sleeping.

    “We believe that the ambition to achieve the goal of ending rough sleeping is achievable and this Commission will help us to understand what we all need to do, to make that a reality.”

    Lord Kerslake, the former Head of the Civil Service and the Department for Communities and Local Government, and current president of the Local Government Association, launched the Commission at the National Housing Federation Summit this morning.

    He said: “I am delighted to be chairing this independent commission which is an unusual one because, for once, it will examine what went right rather than what went wrong.

    “By general consent Everyone In was a terrific success which made a real and tangible difference to the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable members.

    “What I want to do through this Commission is to look at how we can build on this for the future.

    “It is an opportunity to learn, and share learning across the public sector, the health sector as well as local and central government. And if we can do that, we will have done something really valuable for this country.

    “It is a brilliant Commission in terms of its membership, and I am sure it will do some brilliant work,” he said.

    The Commission’s Advisory Board is made up of 17 members and includes representative from local and national government, the charity sector, housing associations and the health service, and importantly, people who have experienced homelessness themselves.

    Board members include Lord Victor Adebowale the Chair of the NHS Confederation, Nickie Aiken MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Bob Blackman MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness, and Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

    The Kerslake Commission will produce an initial findings report this summer, with a final assessment and recommendations in September. Its first meeting takes place on Friday 26 March.

    Government makes more funding available to protect people sleeping rough following St Mungo’s call for urgent action

    08 January 2021

    The Government has made further funding available to help protect people sleeping rough after St Mungo’s, along with other homelessness charities, called for it to take urgent action.

    The announcement today (8 January), from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will see a further £10m provided to help councils to put in place more accommodation for people sleeping rough, and to assist with GP registration to help with access to the vaccine.

    Reacting to the additional funding St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “We and other homelessness charities urged the Government to provide a crucial and decisive response to support people sleeping rough who now face the double threat of severely cold weather and a continued health emergency.

    “We welcome this response and will work with our local authority and health partners to provide both the immediate accommodation and the health care advice that is needed to protect lives.”

    The Government said it was asking councils in England to “redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough” and “ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP, so they can be protected from the virus and more easily vaccinated in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation”.

    The new funding follows the announcement of the £15 million ‘Protect Programme’ in November.

    This scheme allocated additional money to 10 councils in England which required extra support during the national restrictions and throughout winter to provide accommodation for vulnerable rough sleepers.

    St Mungo’s supports call for Government to do more to help people facing threat of homelessness and Covid 19 this winter

    Today (8 October), 18 charities, public health bodies and homelessness organisations including St Mungo’s have written to the Prime Minister warning that without urgent Government action to protect people forced to sleep rough this winter, lives will be put at risk by the double threat of coronavirus and cold weather.

    Commenting on the letter to Boris Johnson MP, Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s said: “‘We know, that despite the tremendous ‘Everyone In’ effort, rough sleeping is rising again.

    “And, although the next steps accommodation will provide longer term accommodation and support funding, we are concerned there is not enough self-contained emergency accommodation currently in place for everyone who will need it over the course of this winter.

    “Many of our services have previously relied on communal sleeping arrangements, including No Second Night Out and Somewhere Safe to Stay services.

    “We are working with our partners locally to find solutions to enable us to deliver these services over the winter and to put in place sufficient self-contained emergency accommodation for everyone sleeping rough, or at risk of doing so, just as we did under the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.

    “And while we await the Government’s public health guidance, we do not see communal night shelters, relying on shared sleeping areas as the right option, because we are not confident that we can guarantee such accommodation can be made Covid-19 safe.”

    More information can be found here and the full letter can be viewed here.

    St Mungo’s welcomes £105m announcement to keep people rough sleeping safe

    St Mungo’s has welcomed the Government announcement today of an additional £105 million to be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own, including “through help with deposits for accommodation, and securing thousands of alternative rooms already available and ready for use, such as student accommodation.”

    Dominic Williamson, St Mungo’s Executive Director of Strategy and Policy, said: “We welcome this significant commitment of new money to help people who had been rough sleeping to move away from the streets for good.

    “The Government’s “Everyone In” initiative to protect homeless people during the pandemic was brilliant. As part of this, St Mungo’s staff have helped more than 2,700 to safely isolate in otherwise empty hotels, already supported more than 300 people to move into longer term accommodation and, as part of our No Going Back campaign, we had been calling on the Government to invest where it was critically needed.

    “This work takes time, and the people remaining in the hotels had been anxious about what would happen when the hotels began to return to business as usual so this is welcome news.

    “The Government’s move today will bring much needed breathing space for those in need and we look forward to continuing to work with our local authorities and other partners to ensure no one in the hotels has to go back to the streets.”


    Notes to Editors


    • There were 4,266 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night last year. Rough sleeping and homelessness has grown over the last decade. It is harmful and dangerous and ruins lives.
    • People experiencing homelessness are more likely than most to have an issue with their health; the average age of death is 45 for a man, and for a woman just 43, and poor health is at the root of this problem.

    About St Mungo’s

    For 50 years St Mungo’s has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle homelessness. Last year 30,000 people were supported by St Mungo’s services. Each night our 17 outreach teams go out to help people sleeping rough to move away from the streets, and every night we provide a bed and support to over 2,850 people. We work to prevent homelessness and support people at every step of their recovery from homelessness. www.mungos.org

    ‘Lives at risk’ fear from St Mungo’s

    Lives will be at risk if homeless people currently housed in otherwise empty hotels are forced back out onto the streets this summer.

    This is the stark warning from homelessness charity St Mungo’s which has been supporting vulnerable people to isolate since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

    Hotels were block booked by local authorities across the country at the end of March following the Government’s message to them to get ‘Everyone in’. Since then, St Mungo’s has supported almost 2,700 people staying in emergency accommodation, and has already helped more than 300 people move from hotel rooms into a new home.

    But with no clear plan emerging from Government to help those who remain in hotels, time is running out, and local authorities will have to make tough choices, warned the charity.

    Dominic Williamson, Executive Director of Strategy and Policy at St Mungo’s, said: “It is my very real fear that people will die. Our whole ethos is about support and recovery for those experiencing homelessness and for them to be suddenly plucked from hotels and pushed back into no man’s land by councils who feel they have no choice carries a very real threat to the lives of those most vulnerable in society.

    “Without further financial help, councils tell us they may not be able to keep people in hotels for much longer. No one wants people to go back to the dangers of sleeping rough and miss this unique opportunity to help people rebuild their lives.

    “There is also the risk of a second peak in cases of coronavirus. We are not out of the woods yet from a public health point of view.

    “But without urgent funding and a clear plan that guarantees no one needs to return to sleeping rough, then it is our real fear. This would throw away the opportunity we have all been given to properly tackle this issue. It will see another tragedy on top of a tragedy.”

    The Government’s plan for 3,300 new homes and support for people in hotels this year was previously welcomed by the charity as a step in the right direction. However, this does not solve the issue of homes being needed right now. Neither does it solve the issue that some people in hotels are not entitled to claim benefits to help pay for housing or other basic needs, and would be facing destitution if their emergency accommodation was taken away.

    In the meantime, St Mungo’s is helping people to find private rented homes, employment support and trying to negotiate places in supported housing for those who need it, but it takes time to find safe, suitable, long-term options.

    St Mungo’s has a No Going Back campaign asking the Government to act to ensure there’s no going back for the thousands of people who have been helped off the streets during coronavirus.

    New Government plans are a “welcome step in the right direction”

    On Sunday 24 May the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced “radical plans to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic.”

    The announcement said that “this ambitious commitment – the biggest of its kind since the Government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative began – will be backed by £160 million this year and will support many of the thousands of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing.”

    This will include accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services in the Budget – now extended to £433 million – to ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months.

    The plans are being pulled together by the Rough Sleeping COVID-19 Response Taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, which will be “bringing together local government, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses in order to use the coronavirus crisis and current successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping for good.”

    St Mungo’s has welcomed this as a step in the right direction while recognising the huge challenge this is, and continuing to press for our five No Going Back campaign calls.

    Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive, said:

    St Mungo’s has been part of the national effort to help thousands of people off the streets to keep them safe, and we’re currently supporting around 1,600 people in hotel rooms.
    The Government’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, recognising as it does the need to urgently provide the safe and secure housing – and vital support – that people need to rebuild their lives away from the streets for good.  We look forward to working with Dame Louise Casey, the taskforce and local partners to put plans into action so that no one has to go back to the streets, while recognising the huge challenge this is.
    We will continue to press the Government on the further measures required to ensure everyone gets the support they need, and that no one is left sleeping rough during this public health emergency, or beyond.

    ‘knocked back’ from life-saving treatment

    New research reveals at least 12,000 people experiencing homelessness missed out on vital drug and alcohol services last year.

    St Mungo’s has declared a health crisis on the streets saying cuts to services have resulted in record numbers of people who are homeless living with, and dying of, preventable drug and alcohol problems.

    The report – Knocked Back: failing to support people sleeping rough with drug and alcohol problems is costing lives – is one of the most comprehensive investigations into the links between rough sleeping and substance use for 20 years. It includes new data analysis, in-depth interviews and peer research from across the country looking at the issues behind people’s drug and alcohol problems and the challenges they face accessing life-saving support.

    The charity is calling on government to deliver on its commitment to join up health and housing in a new cross-government strategy to end rough sleeping. This includes action to end deaths on the streets, investing in drug and alcohol services and quickly establishing a ‘rough sleeping and substance use personalised fund’ to meet immediate needs.

    Last year the ONS found that of the 726 deaths in 2018 of people who were sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation, more than half were alcohol or drug related. Deaths by drug poisoning had risen by 55% in just one year. Our research looks into the issues behind this rise:

    • We estimate that at least 12,000 people sleeping rough, or at risk of doing so, went without vital drug and alcohol treatment in England last year.
    • Funding for drug and alcohol services has been cut by more than a quarter since 2015 -16.
    • 6 in 10 people sleeping rough in London have a drug or alcohol problem, up from 5 in 10 people in 2014-15.
    • In London there has been a 65% increase in women sleeping rough with drug and alcohol problems between 2014-15 and 2018-19, compared to a 16% rise in men.
    • Rough sleeping and drug and alcohol problems are closely associated with traumatic experiences and isolation which often precede someone’s first night sleeping rough.
    • Half of drug and alcohol services in the areas with the highest levels of rough sleeping say it will get harder to support people sleeping rough over the next two years.

    Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, said:

    “This is a neglected health crisis that requires rapid action. Our research shows that people who have already faced traumatic experiences throughout their lives are being turned away from life-saving treatment just when they need it most.

    “Rough sleeping in England has increased by 165% in the last ten years. Not only are hundreds of people dying from drug poisoning but even more are living in terrible conditions on the streets whilst tackling very serious ill health.

    “This needs urgent government action. Now is the moment for Ministers to show they are serious about the commitment to join up health and housing to end rough sleeping once and for all. This means a comprehensive review of every death, a personalised fund to help everyone access life-saving treatment services quickly, and funding increases for integrated treatment, support and accommodation services.”

    Andrew Teale, Outreach Manager at St Mungo’s, said:

    “I have seen first-hand the issues explored in this research. I’m a service manager working with people sleeping rough in Bournemouth and Poole. But I also know because I have lived it.

    “I spent five years homeless, living for months on a makeshift bed in the woods, going down to the garage at the end of the road to get my alcohol. I was arrested, sectioned, ordered to get treatment many times – but nothing seemed to work.

    “Eventually I spent 13 months in a local authority rehab and began to rebuild my life, volunteering with people who were homeless.

    “I went on to work in drug and alcohol services, before taking on the role as service manager of the Bournemouth outreach team. I’ve been sober nearly 11 years. I drive home to my wife, my stepchildren and my dog – and I’ve never been happier.

    “This is such a vital issue, yet often stigmatised and misunderstood. Having worked and lived both homelessness and drugs and alcohol, I know how closely related those experiences are, and how difficult it can be to navigate a stretched and under resourced system. When it works people’s lives are transformed, like mine.”

    The report makes the following recommendations to the government

    • Ensure that funding for drug and alcohol treatment is protected and increased, while also establishing a ‘rough sleeping and substance use personalised fund’ to meet immediate needs regardless of local connection or immigration status.
    • Ensure services work better with the most vulnerable groups, by encouraging new trauma-informed approaches, shared ‘distance travelled’ outcome measures, and the provision of a greater number of specialist multi-disciplinary services providing integrated support.
    • A clear commitment to end deaths on the streets over the next five years, backed up by an independent national programme to review trends, make recommendations and hold agencies to account.
    • These efforts must be part of an updated cross-government strategy to meet the commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024. The strategy should recognise rough sleeping as a public health crisis, and set out a plan for providing the right integrated pathways of housing, treatment and support.

    Help us by signing up to campaign for St Mungo’s at www.mungos.org/campaign

    Highest year-on-year increase in homeless deaths is a national tragedy

    St Mungo’s has said that the latest national figure showing that 726 people died whilst sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation last year is a “national tragedy.”

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the new 2018 figures today, which show a 22% increase on the figure of 597 people who died in 2017. This is the highest year to year increase since the ONS time series began.

    Today’s announcement also reveals the mean age of death was 45 for men, and 43 for women.

    Howard Sinclair, CEO of homelessness charity St Mungo’s, said:

    “Years of funding cuts have devastated crucial services supporting people who are homeless. The human cost is a national tragedy.

    “726 people died in 2018. That’s the equivalent of two people every day. The number of people dying has increased by 51% since 2013.

    “We need to build homes, to make the welfare system truly work for the most vulnerable and to fund homelessness services to help people find a way off the streets, and out of danger, for good.”

    St Mungo’s Home for Good campaign is calling for the Government to put an end to rough sleeping.

    To commemorate those people who died while homeless last year, St Mungo’s clients, alongside staff and supporters, have together hand made hundreds of origami flowers.

    Sinclair continued: “Clients, staff and supporters came together to create this moving tribute which demonstrates the shared passion and drive to put an end to this tragedy on our doorsteps.

    “I’m proud that our St Mungo’s teams are out every night making contact with people who are rough sleeping, gaining their trust and helping them find long term routes off the street.

    “Our staff see every day the faces behind these shocking statistics, but also help many people avoid an unnecessarily premature death, enabling people to rebuild their lives and fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

    “We need the government to take action now to prevent more tragedies. With national action, this can, and must, change.”