16 January 2020 – Three new buildings are now open in Lewisham, south London, designed with and for people who have been rough sleeping in the capital.
The 14 month development saw work begin in October 2018 and complete early in December 2019. It comprises:
- A new purpose built No Second Night Out South Hub, where up to 25 people newly rough sleeping can be referred in by outreach teams from across south London, speak with workers and be helped to move on, ideally within 72 hours.
- The refurbishment of a 1960s former accommodation project into a purpose built Staging Post service, a place with 26 beds for people newly sleeping rough where it is not possible for them to move on from NSNO within 72 hours but where they can stay short term while assessments and their options are progressed.
- New purpose built St Mungo’s accommodation called Hilda House, named after a famous local swimmer, which offers 28 self-contained rooms to people from Lewisham needing some support before moving on into their own tenancies.
The buildings were developed by homelessness charity St Mungo’s, with significant financial support from the Greater London Authority and also in partnership with Lewisham Council.
These three buildings sit alongside an existing 40-bed hostel, Spring Gardens, funded by the LB Lewisham, plus 24 self-contained individual flats, meaning that each night the whole site can now support almost 150 people who’ve either been homeless or who are moving on from homelessness, and potentially house people in a range of appropriate accommodation, depending on what level of support they might need.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and councillors from Lewisham visited the site last week (10 January 2020) to meet clients and staff of St Mungo’s using the new facilities, as he launched a new StreetLink service going live shortly, through which people could be referred into the NSNO South Hub.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“It was great to see the excellent work being done by the St Mungo’s team on my recent visit. The dedication of the staff at the Lewisham hub is inspiring and I’m delighted that they now have the buildings and facilities they need to carry out their life-changing work.
“The number of people sleeping rough on the streets in 2020 is a national disgrace. I will continue to work tirelessly, alongside charities like St Mungo’s, to help the most vulnerable Londoners. However, we will never truly banish the scourge of homelessness until Ministers wake up to this crisis and pledge to properly fund homeless services, as well as reversing the damage done by years of cuts to welfare services.”
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:
“This has been a major project for St Mungo’s in terms of extending our capacity to help more people sleeping rough in from the streets quickly, offer them some emergency shelter, but then work with them to move them on into longer term appropriate accommodation, or other options, depending on their situations.
“I’m particularly pleased that clients were involved in the design of these buildings, for example, choosing the paint colours in Hilda House and shortlisting the name itself. In addition, people on our skills and training project ReVive helped build an external store area while our Putting Down Roots gardening volunteers helped with planting.
“These new high quality buildings, alongside existing services, are set to help many hundreds of people move on from homelessness in the years ahead and achieve their ambitions.”
Cllr Best, Deputy Mayor of Lewisham and Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“Rough sleeping has increased in Lewisham and across London, and that number is continuing to rise. We are committed to playing our part to helping people off the streets and into safe, secure housing. We are absolutely delighted with the new facilities and proud to be hosting them in Lewisham. Our partnership work with St Mungo’s has helped to transform the lives of many vulnerable people and that will only continue with these new services.”
St Mungo’s worked closely with contractors Neilcott Construction and Philip Pank Partnership to complete the build to time. Will Homewood from Neilcott Construction said:
The Neilcott team greatly enjoyed delivering this construction project, in particular supporting some of the back to work schemes by providing work opportunities on site, and supporting St Mungo’s in their delivery for the No Second Night Out initiative.
David Eldridge for the Philip Pank Partnership, who oversee the construction project, said:
We are incredibly proud to have worked alongside St Mungo, producing some exceptional facilities for homeless people, helping improve people’s future prospects and aiding them to get back on their feet.
Hilda House was named after famous Lewisham citizen Hilda “Laddie” Sharp of Hither Green, who swam the English Channel in August 1928. http://ourhithergreen.com/2015/11/11590/
Set up in 1969, St Mungo’s is a homelessness charity and housing association which provides housing and support each night to more than 2,800 people and helps thousands of others who are homeless or rebuilding their lives after homelessness through health, housing, skills, employment and volunteering activities. See www.mungos.org