Over 150 people have signed up to devote their spare time to tackle the London homelessness crisis through a new programme from St Mungo’s.

First Response, which has now been piloted for three months and is funded by estate agent Chestertons, works alongside Streetlink and London outreach teams. A total of 615 hours of volunteer’s time has been spent locating rough sleepers across London.

First Response was launched after local outreach teams often found they were spending lots of time locating people and had less time to work directly with them to offer the practical and valuable support they need to come off the streets. The purpose of the First Response project is to:

•        Reduce long-term rough sleeping
•        Enable us to find new rough sleepers faster
•        Increase the reach and effectiveness of our outreach service
•        Increase engagement with companies and the community

The programme is currently operating in four boroughs; Westminster, Tower Hamlets, City of London and Islington.

Alice Soper, Volunteer Coordinator for First Response, St Mungo’s, said: “The First Response programme is already making a real difference to our work and how we are supporting vulnerable rough sleepers across London. We’ve seen an overwhelming number of Londoners apply. From young professionals; to ex-accountants; to couples who are volunteering their time together, it’s been really encouraging to see so many people join us in our mission to end homelessness.”

Allan Collins, Deputy Chairman, Chesterton Global, said: “Chestertons staff are all supportive of our work with St Mungo’s and I’m really pleased that we can help First Response get going. Since we partnered with St Mungo’s I have seen first-hand the huge problems some people face in their lives, often this is not of their own making and I have also seen what an amazing organisation St Mungo’s is. The team really cares about what they are doing and it’s a pleasure to work with them.”