Conservative MP Adam Holloway slept on the streets of London in Westminster in February this year for an ITV Tonight documentary – Undercover: Rough Sleeper.
On two occasions, he was referred into St Mungo’s services.
One was the No Second Night Out south London hub. The other was a Pan London Severe Weather Emergency Protocol service. This was providing additional capacity in the freezing weather for people to come inside as an emergency measure, and was into a communal area of St Mungo’s Mare Street hostel, Hackney.
He has written about the experience in the Telegraph, noting “The St Mungo’s staff’s good humour is matched only by their compassion and kindness.”
The production company refused our request to appear in the programme and film our response. Instead, they asked us to send a written response which we did.
We made the following points:
• St Mungo’s provides the No Second Night Out (NSNO) service in London that operates 24 hours, 365 days a year out of three hubs in north, west and south London (Spring Gardens).
• We also provide the Pan London Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) service, based in different locations, one of which Mr Holloway used. This is emergency shelter that takes effect during very cold weather and which provides additional capacity to that provided by local authorities.
• We do not provide the outreach service in the areas of Westminster where we have been told Mr Holloway was sleeping.
• We are glad he found our staff “professional and courteous”.
• NSNO hubs are not places of accommodation but places of safety where people can be assessed any time day or night in an environment away from the street so as to best determine their future options.
• Outreach teams from across London refer people who are newly rough sleeping into these hubs, not just St Mungo’s outreach teams.
• We have secured £5m from the GLA to upgrade NSNO provision at Spring Gardens and Mare Street, the first phase of which will be complete in May. This is to offer improved NSNO facilities to people in need
About NSNO in London
• NSNO in London comprises three hubs, in north, south and west London, which are staffed and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
• It also provides 36 additional beds in separate buildings specifically for NSNO clients, plus; legal advice services, specialist mental health input, travel, clothing and food
• Staffed with specialist workers helping clients with welfare rights, paperwork, housing options and referrals around physical, mental health and substance use
• Since it was launched in London in 2011, NSNO has supported 12,036 people who were newly rough sleeping
• 85% of new rough sleepers who use NSNO don’t return to the streets