Why London?

As a London homeless charity, we are often asked why our efforts are concentrated on ending homelessness in London.

While homelessness is unacceptable everywhere, our expertise and resources are best utilised addressing London’s rough sleeping crisis.

We have been supporting people in Westminster for over a hundred years, making us uniquely positioned to tackle the challenges of London homelessness. Our deep-rooted experience and dedicated efforts help us provide effective support to Londoners facing homelessness.

The Scale of homelessness in London

Westminster has more people sleeping rough than anywhere else in the UK. Recent figures indicate over 2,100 people are currently living on the streets of Westminster.

This makes our role crucial in addressing London’s homelessness crisis. With London being an international hub, we encounter a wide range of unique barriers to homelessness recovery.

This is important for two key reasons:

homelessness facts on our london homeless shelter- blue and green background with text reading 'The numbers: Over 10,000 people are sleeping rough in London. 20% are in Westminster (making it the UK's epicentre of homelessness). The context: Westminster is an international hub for rough sleeping.
This means we see people with a wide and unique range of barriers to homelessness recovery.'

This puts us in a unique situation which requires a lot of kindness, experience and understanding to overcome.

Additionally, being based in Westminster allows us to work closely with the government on policy which has a nation-wide impact.

Accordingly, the trauma-informed approach to supporting people experiencing homelessness in London is more likely to have a ripple effect in homelessness services across the country, benefiting those struggling with homelessness everywhere.

London homelessness in numbers

The statistics surrounding homelessness in London are alarming, here are just a few:

  • Over 10,000 people are sleeping rough in London right now.
  • 20% of these individuals are in Westminster, making it the epicentre of UK homelessness. This means 1 in 50 Londoners are currently experiencing homelessness.
  • 66% of people found sleeping rough in London last year were doing so for the first time. Clearly, better prevention is needed
  • 2,387 people seen rough sleeping last year were also seen the year before, indicating difficulty in securing long-term housing.
  • 1,632 individuals were ‘returners’ to rough sleeping, highlighting the challenge of creating long-term change in people’s lives.
  • Numbers like these can feel overwhelming and disconnected from our day-to-day life, but it only takes one walk into central London to see the the thousands of people sleeping rough on our streets.

    Stories of London homelessness

    “At the time I was going through all the bad stuff, so my head was a bit all over the place. I started drinking and taking drugs… You’re not aware of time really, days and more days and nights turn into all the same”.

    After sleeping rough on London’s streets, Jade got in touch with us at The Connection. She initially used our basic services – showers, laundry, a hot meal- while she got to know us.

    She soon built a strong relationship with her key worker Hannah, who helped her to get support for her substance use and encouraged her to take care of her mental health. She also helped Jade get a flat, where she has been living for over a year.

    Of course, the diversity of London means we see a lot of people with different life experiences that have lead them into homelessness.

    Nariman first moved to London as an asylum seeker in the early 2000s. He was initially able to find work and a home but ended up sleeping rough once legal changes meant he was no longer able to work in the UK.

    Our dedicated migration team was created to work with people like Nariman, who often find themselves on London’s streets.

    We’ve seen countless stories of people struggling to find the right support because London services are underfunded and in high demand.

    Our work minimises pressure on the homelessness sector and provides support those who often fall through the cracks of existing systems.

    Our work as a London homeless charity

    In the hectic streets of London, many people struggle to feel seen and supported. We understand this challenge firsthand and offer tailored support to each person we meet, recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to homelessness.

    Our frontline services are delivered through our resource centre at Adelaide Street and St Martin’s House, our women’s housing project in South London. These services consider the unique nature of London homelessness and are always willing to lend a helping hand.

    We also maintain strong links with local councils, facilitating easier access to government support for those we support.

    You can find out more about how we support people sleeping rough in London here.