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Wholesome homes – 1,200 new units for London’s rough sleepers

Since 2016, City Hall services have closely worked with councils and charities to assist 12,000 homeless people into safe, long-term accommodation.

The initiative has been funded by the mayor’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation and Move On programs which has provided over £190 million in funding to supply both homes and much-needed support for former rough sleepers.

As of June 10, work has commenced on more than 1,200 homes.


Labour’s London Assembly Housing spokesperson, Sem Moema AM, said: “Despite committed and sustained efforts by City Hall, councils and charities across the capital, there are still too many vulnerable people on our streets.”

“One person sleeping rough is one too many. The government must step up, right now, to tackle spiralling cost of living crisis that is pushing more Londoners towards poverty and the threat of homelessness.”

“Ministers must also fund the vital services that support people sleeping rough, reform the private rented sector, invest in more genuinely affordable homes and new social and council homes for rent.

Moema concluded: “We need an effective cross-government approach to help rough sleepers get off the streets for good; a reply to my letter from the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing would be a good start.”

CHAINs off

Of late there has been an encouraging fall in the number of rough sleepers in London. During 2021/22 data from the City Hall-commissioned Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) disclosed that 8,329 people were seen sleeping rough by outreach workers in London, a 24% decrease compared to the total of 11,018 people seen in 2020/21.

Those that were seeking shelter will also be protected by the Mayor’s In For Good principle which requires that no rough sleeper placed in emergency accommodation is asked to leave without an offer of support to end their rough sleeping.

City Hall has secured nearly £50 million in government funding to bring aid to London’s rough sleepers in 2022 and 2023 and has also boosted its own budget for rough sleeping services from £8.45 million a year when the mayor was elected, to around £12 million a year.

Another initiative by award-winning housebuilder, The Hill Group, recently saw that keys were officially handed over for six SoloHaus to Southend-on-Sea City Council on July 7 2022 – the first city council in Essex to utilise these purpose-built modular homes as follow-on accommodation for people experiencing homelessness in the local vicinity.

How it started

When the pandemic gripped the globe, City Hall was backed by government funding and worked alongside local authorities and charities which assisted over 2,500 rough sleepers into safe accommodation through the Everyone In scheme.

Approximately 80% of those helped through the scheme were relocated into long-term accommodation. The scheme also permitted local authorities to provide rough sleeping services to those on No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

Back in February, Moema personally wrote to the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP, to ask him to outline how the government will work with City Hall and local authorities to get rough sleepers off the streets after the Everyone In campaign was wound down. Labour said he failed to respond.


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