Mayor of London launches campaign to help young rough sleepers

As he launched his annual Winter Rough Sleeping Fundraising Campaign today, the Mayor of London warned that the work to tackle homelessness during the height of the pandemic could go to waste if lessons are not learned.

During the pandemic, more than 2,500 rough sleepers were accommodated in GLA-provided accommodation as part of the Everyone In programme, and 86% of those who passed through the hotels did not return to the streets.

However, the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt by vulnerable Londoners – especially young people who may be facing homelessness for the first time – with a 48% increase in the number of rough sleepers under 25 between July and September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

The Mayor’s Winter Fundraising Campaign raised more than £100,000 last year, which was split between four charities working with young homeless Londoners, including Depaul, akt, Centrepoint and New Horizon Youth Centre.

person sitting on floor near people

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘Since becoming Mayor, I have made tackling rough sleeping a personal priority. From City Hall we are doing everything we can with the resources at our disposal to keep rough sleepers safe and I’m confident Londoners will once again show their generosity by backing my winter fundraising campaign and helping to support young Londoners who find themselves homeless.

‘Even so, the generosity of Londoners alone cannot end rough sleeping in our capital. This time last year we were hailing the remarkable success of the ‘Everyone In’ programme for saving the lives of hundreds of vulnerable Londoners. Despite seeing what can be achieved when we work together, ministers now appear unwilling or unable to confront the appalling reality that hundreds of young Londoners could spend this Christmas sleeping on the streets.’

Depaul UK CEO, Mike Thiedke, added: ‘Everyday, more young people become homeless in London and unfortunately we’re seeing an increasing number of them ending up on our streets. We are facing a crisis of youth homelessness and are thankful to the Mayor for recognising the particular needs of young people and choosing them as the focus for his winter campaign. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor to provide accommodation for young people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.’

In related news, Climate Change Minister Julie James will launch the Welsh government’s new ‘Ending Homelessness Action Plan’ in the Senedd later today.

Photo by Tom Parsons


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