London launches Rough Sleeping Charter

The Mayor of London has launched London's first Rough Sleeping Charter.

The Charter is a public commitment for Londoners to work together to end rough sleeping.

More than 100 charities, faith groups, businesses and people with lived experience have helped to design and develop the charter, which aims to create a shared purpose and vision for tackling the challenge of rough sleeping in the capital.

The rough sleeping charter started with a small group of organisations and city government officials who wanted to engage better with the community and build a bigger movement around the goal to end rough sleeping.

The Greater London Authority rough sleeping budget in 2023/24 is now £36.3 million - more than four times the £8.45m a year it was when Sadiq Khan took office in 2016

According to the Mayor's office, thanks to the In for Good principle and intervention from City Hall funded services, more than 75 per cent of those who received support were not seen sleeping rough again.

The Charter sets out six principles for signatories to uphold in their work including: accepting that whilst people sleeping rough may have problems, they aren’t problem people; recognising that everyone rough sleeping is unique, and there should be meaningful options for all, regardless of immigration status; and ensuring that people sleeping rough are safe from violence, abuse, theft and discrimination and that they have the full protection of the law.

Signatories also commit to undertake and support key actions including: acknowledging people when they talk to you or ask you for money, even if you decide you would rather not give it to them directly; if you see someone sleeping rough who needs help, let Streetlink London know; and volunteer, donate, or support a charity who has joined this pledge.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We’re launching the first ever London Rough Sleeping Charter – bringing together Londoners, businesses, charities and communities to express our shared belief that there’s nothing inevitable about someone spending a night in a doorway, car or abandoned building. And that by working together we can end the scandal of rough sleeping in London.

“Homelessness is a societal illness. Witnessing people living on our streets leaves us horrified and helpless. That person we walk past has hopes and fears, just like us – they’re someone’s family, someone’s friend and they deserve dignity. We cannot – must not – stand by and allow a social catastrophe to unfold in a nation as rich as ours.

“The cost-of-living crisis and other changes in Government policy is putting more and more Londoners at risk of losing their homes and ending up with nowhere to go.

“As Mayor, I’m determined to do everything possible to end rough sleeping in the capital as we build a better London for everyone. That’s why we’re taking unprecedented and coordinated action as a city. But we also need the Government to play its part and deliver a comprehensive emergency winter package of support to help avoid those most vulnerable having to sleep in the cold this winter.”

Image by Paolo Trabattoni from Pixabay

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