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Londoners urged to donate to winter rough sleeping appeal

City Hall and charity partner TAP London have installed contactless donation points at 35 locations across the city, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

credit Matt Collamer via Unsplash
credit Matt Collamer via Unsplash

Sadiq Khan is urging Londoners to donate to his annual winter rough sleeping campaign, as he claimed the government was making it “impossible” to end street homelessness.

Working with charity partner TAP London, contactless donation points have been installed at 35 locations across the city – including Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge and Liverpool Street stations – with the option of donating online too.

Donations will go towards helping frontline homelessness services. Since 2017, Londoners have given more than £700,000 to nominated rough sleeping charities through the project.

The government said in response to Khan that it is “determined to end rough sleeping for good” and has given councils £2billion to tackle the problem.

Khan said: “Many of us will be out this weekend finishing our Christmas shopping and seeing friends. For increasing numbers, however, this festive season will be one of despair, especially for those who face yet another perilous winter sleeping on the streets.

“So today, I ask every Londoner to consider if they can afford donating a few pounds to our winter rough sleeping campaign. This will ensure that homelessness charities can continue their life-saving work this winter.”

City Hall said that £10 could cover the cost of a kettle and mugs for a person setting up home for the first time after sleeping rough, while £50 could cover two nights of accommodation for a rough sleeper in a lodgings scheme.

A donation of £500 could pay for two street outreach sessions per week, to locate and support people who are sleeping rough, the mayor’s team said.

The campaign launched as the mayor announced that more than 5,000 rough sleepers have been helped into new homes through mayoral-backed programmes since 2021.

This includes more than 1,500 ‘move-on’ homes funded by City Hall, exceeding a manifesto commitment made by the mayor in his 2021 re-election campaign to build 1,000 such homes.

The mayor said: “Ending rough sleeping in the capital has been a top priority of mine ever since I took office, which is why I have quadrupled my rough sleeping budget and doubled down on efforts to help more people off the streets.


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“I’m really pleased that as a result of City Hall’s programmes, 16,000 people have been taken off London’s streets, and more than 5000 people have a safe and secure home to call their own as they rebuild their lives and prepare for independent living.”

Mr Khan came under fire last week from Tory assembly member Keith Prince, who pointed out that rough sleeping has increased 24% in London since the Labour mayor took office in 2016.

While numbers on the city’s streets were significantly reduced in the aftermath of the pandemic, they rose sharply in the last year.

According to government “snapshot” data, every region in England saw an increase in rough sleeping in 2022, not just London. The percentage rise in the capital was the highest however, jumping 34% between 2021 and 2022, compared with an average rise of 23% in the rest of England.

The mayor said further action was needed at a national level to fix the problem, saying: “The stark reality is that the cost-of-living crisis is putting unbearable strain on households across the country and in the capital, causing a conveyor belt of rough sleepers on our streets.

“Despite the huge amount of work being done in London, current national policy risks making ending rough sleeping impossible, which is why the Government must urgently act to give those sleeping rough homes and hope this winter.”

Khan repeated his calls to ministers for an immediate freeze of private rents and an end to ‘no fault evictions’, among other asks.

Commenting in response, homelessness minister and Kensington MP Felicity Buchan said: “We are determined to end rough sleeping for good and are working hand-in-hand with the homelessness sector and other partners to make sure people have a roof over their head and the support to rebuild their lives.

“We have given councils £2billion – including nearly £190million for London – to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, and in the capital are supporting 13 projects that provide services and emergency accommodation. Through our rough sleeping strategy we will end rough sleeping completely.”

The government has said that it will ban no-fault evictions, also known as Section 21 notices, through the Renters Reform Bill. The ban has been delayed however until court reforms have been enacted to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants with a reason, for example rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

To donate online:
Visit: taplondon.org


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