Secretary of State visits St Mungo’s teams working to tackle homelessness
The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, met with St Mungo’s clients and staff today at the charity’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) assessment hub and its Hope Gardens hostel in West London.
The Secretary of State was shown around the hub and heard how staff support people who would otherwise be sleeping rough. The team works quickly to assess people’s options and find a safe route away from sleeping on the streets.
The group also visited Hope Gardens, a psychologically informed hostel built in 2014, where 27 people live while St Mungo’s supports them to access health, treatment, mental health or employment services. The Secretary of State also heard about some of St Mungo’s Housing First services and how this innovative approach to housing rough sleepers is helping people with the most complex needs.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “During my visit to St Mungo’s I met some really inspiring people, whose lives are being turned around by the vital support provided by their committed staff.
“Tackling homelessness is complex, but no one should ever have to sleep rough.
“That’s why we are all committed to working together to help eliminate rough sleeping for good.”
Dean, who currently lives at Hope Gardens, spoke to the Secretary of State about his experience of sleeping rough during the cold weather this winter. Dean said: “The outreach team found me in the churchyard where I was sleeping and took me to Hope Gardens so I could escape the freezing cold. Then I got my own room and the team has been brilliant at helping me to get stuck in with some IT training and other bits to get my life back on track. It was great to talk to a government minister about all this and hear about plans to end rough sleeping.”
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State to see a range of our innovative projects that are helping people to move on from rough sleeping.
“We believe that no one should ever have to sleep rough and we are pleased the Government is acting to reduce rough sleeping, including the £30 million fund for local authorities. We also look forward to seeing further measures to support people off the street and out of danger in the Government’s forthcoming national rough sleeping strategy.
“Supported housing and Housing First services, like the ones the Secretary of State heard about today, are crucial to ending homelessness and helping individuals to sustain homes, relationships and lives in a fulfilling way.”
Contact Judith Higgin, St Mungo’s Press team: Judith.Higgin@mungos.org or on 020 8356 6194.
Notes for Editors
No Second Night Out
The London No Second Night Out service is funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and delivered by St Mungo’s. Outreach teams can refer people sleeping rough to one of three London hubs that are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The hubs provide a safe environment away from the street where a team of assessment and reconnection professionals can carry out a comprehensive assessment with people who are new to rough sleeping and talk them through the options available to them to end their homelessness.
Hope Gardens has 10 bedsits and 17 rooms with communal facilities. There is also communal space, a relaxation room and a family room where children aged 10 upwards are able to visit. Designed in close consultation with residents in 2014, a sense of community is also important at Hope Gardens and residents commit to contributing in a number of ways including helping with breakfast, watering the plants, and running bingo on a Sunday. Residents also currently run a woman’s group and a pampering group each week. Funding for the support services is provided by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
St Mungo’s is one of the main providers of Housing First projects in England. We run services in nine locations supporting more than 100 people in their own homes. The overall philosophy of Housing First is to provide a stable, independent home and intensive personalised support and case management to homeless people with multiple and complex needs.