No matter where you live in the country, you can’t have failed to notice the increase in rough sleepers in recent years.
The Connection at St Martin’s is based just off the Strand in Westminster, the most concentrated area of rough sleeping in the UK. It’s estimated that 1 in 15 of all rough sleepers in England are found here, and the total number of people on the streets is up 20% on last year.
We help thousands of people every year move away from, and stay off, the streets of London. We do this by tackling the underlying causes of homelessness as well as offering practical help.
We see an average of 150 people a day and alongside providing food, showers and laundry services, we undertake a strength-based assessment for everyone using our services to understand what help they need to get back on their feet. Support on offer includes housing and benefits advice, tickets home, links into treatment and health services and help to get a job.
We also provide free temporary accommodation for up to 75 people each night.
We are always busy and notice we’re getting busier, seeing an average of 100 new people each month.
Last night’s Channel 4 documentary 60 Days on the Streets featuring Ed Stafford showed the extent of the crisis in this area, and why our work is so vital. Documentaries of this type raise awareness of the scale of the problem and we know that there is a huge amount of concern about homelessness.
Experience tells us that the best way to help homeless people is to support organisations that can work with them to tackle the underlying causes of their situation, such as addiction or poor mental health – providing a whole package of support to help people off the streets for good. This also ensures that the people who are being helped are genuinely homeless.