Worried about someone sleeping rough? Download the StreetLink app

Rough sleeping is dangerous at the best of times, but it is especially deadly as temperatures drop during the winter. If you’ve ever passed someone sleeping rough and wondered how you can help, there’s an app for that.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, working in partnership with the charity StreetLink, have an app which members of the public can use to flag rough sleepers to outreach workers who can check on their safety, offer support and help them identify a route off the street. Someone who finds themselves sleeping on the streets can also report their situation using the same method.

Though the app has been around since 2012 it has since seen renewed popularity after going viral on the Mayor of London’s Instagram account.

In 2019, following a campaign by the Mayor, Londoners made a record number of referrals to StreetLink, with more than 5,000 rough sleepers helped as a direct result of alerts from members of the public.

Funded by the Mayor’s office, StreetLink developed a London website to give Londoners the latest information about homeless outreach services in the capital and what they can do to help.

You can download the StreetLink app from their website streetlink.org.uk.

Above: Tweet from StreetLink

Annual fundraising campaign underway and new emergency hotel opened for rough sleepers

Sadiq Khan visited a ‘homelessness hub’ in Hounslow at the beginning of December to launch what has become an annual fundraising campaign to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Hounslow’s homeless hubs are services funded by the Mayor’s previous winter homelessness campaign. 

This is the fourth year TAP London, a volunteer-led non-profit organisation, has partnered with the Mayor to help improve the lives of homeless Londoners through contactless technology and online fundraising.

During the first lockdown, the Government’s Everyone In scheme provided additional emergency accommodation to rough sleepers. As the scheme was wound down earlier this year, 2,512 individuals were still living in hotels and other emergency accommodation. Homeless charities warned at the time that many of these people could end up returning to the streets when the Everyone In programme ended. 

As temperatures in London continue to plummet, the Sadiq Khan has stepped up additional measures for rough sleepers in the capital, including hotel accommodation in East London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan plans to spend a record £1.25 million on Severe Weather Emergency Protocol services this year to ensure rough sleepers are off the streets on the coldest days of winter.

In London, one in every 53 people is homeless according to Shelter.

Image above: Sadiq Khan visits LB Hounslow (2 December) to launch annual homelessness fundraising campaign

Tackling rough sleeping ‘a priority’ for Mayor and LB Hounslow

Sadiq Khan said:

“Since becoming Mayor, I have made tackling rough sleeping a personal priority and we are finally starting to see sustained results with the number of rough sleepers falling in recent years – but there is still much to do.

“From City Hall and across London we are doing everything we can with the resources at our disposal to keep rough sleepers safe, especially during freezing conditions.”

Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran, said during the Mayor’s visit in December:

“Hounslow Council works closely with the Mayor and the Greater London Authority to ensure we do everything we can to end homelessness, help individuals into temporary accommodation and provide the longer-term support they need for a better future.

“The Mayor’s visit to a homelessness hub in Hounslow today, a service funded by the Mayor’s previous winter homelessness campaign, is an example of the work the Mayor, local authorities and charities are doing to make tackling homelessness a priority and support anyone who is facing the prospect of sleeping rough.

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