Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s hosted the Mayor of London at one of its services today, as staff prepare to support more people sleeping rough during the cold winter weather.
Sadiq Khan was able to see first-hand the emergency accommodation people will be offered by the charity when the temperatures plummet.
Mr Khan was visiting St Mungo’s ‘No Second Night Out’ Hub in Waterloo, where people sleeping rough are housed temporarily while being assessed for suitable accommodation. It is one of many homelessness services across London funded by the Mayor.
The Hub also provides extra accommodation for people sleeping rough, when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated by the local authorities.
SWEP is an emergency response to prevent homeless people from dying or developing serious health conditions in extreme weather.
The cold weather hits as statistics show the numbers of people sleeping rough in London has increased by 24% in the last year, according to the latest quarterly figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN).
The cost of living crisis is also expected to put further pressure on homeless services.
Mr Khan met with St Mungo’s clients currently living at the service, and was given a tour of the Hub, including one of the bedrooms prepared for the emergency response, and also the nurse’s room where clients are able to access medical help.
St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeping, Petra Salva OBE said “Our teams are out in the streets of London 365 days of the year and see first had the damage and harm sleeping rough sleeping causes to people.
“It was a pleasure to show the Mayor of London round one of our hubs today. The services we provide, many of which are funded by the Mayor’s office, offer a vital lifeline and direct help to get people off the streets as quickly as possible.
“We are acutely aware of the increased dangers people sleeping rough face, which will increase as the temperatures fall, and the cost of living crisis is likely to force more people onto the streets this winter.
“But, with our partners in local authorities and the GLA, our teams will continue to work tirelessly to make every night someone’s last on the streets.”