The Connection at St Martin’s supports people sleeping rough in Westminster, helping them to recover and find their way off the streets towards a place to call home.
Our work is needed now more than ever.
Over 10,000 people were recorded as sleeping rough in London last year, a 21% increase on the year before. The rise is even starker in our own figures, with a 48% increase of people coming through our doors from January – August 2023 compared to 2022.
At the same time, costs are increasing which means that providing our essential services is becoming more and more expensive.
We are therefore making some changes to ensure we’re making the most of our resources and delivering the best possible service for everyone we support.
To do this we need to make sure we’re focused on supporting the people who need us most. Our role is to support people who are experiencing the most profound challenges, are entrenched on the streets of Westminster or who aren’t able to be supported appropriately elsewhere. This means people who have mental health needs, substance use, criminal justice involvement and/ or no recourse to public funds and complex immigration cases alongside sleeping rough.
We believe working intensively with these people is the best way to maximise our impact and make the biggest difference to rough sleeping in Westminster.
Our experience tells us that intensive support on a number of fronts is the best way to support people to start to change their lives. This is often a very long process, and people can have stops, starts, or go backwards. It is important to keep patient, supportive and help people go at their pace – and not to give up on people. It is very resource-heavy to work with people to this depth. To do it safely and effectively we need to make sure we’re offering this to a number of people we can manage.
However we also recognise that we have a vital role to play in offering essential services and a place of safety and respite for people sleeping rough. Human connection and creating a community are also hugely important.
To achieve this, our new service offer will have 3 different tiers of support based on need and resources available:
We have also reviewed our eligibility criteria to help us feel confident that we are working with the people we can most effectively help.
To use our service, you must be aged 18 – 70, rough sleeping in Westminster and not accessing or currently able to access support from any other services. When people come to us who do not meet our eligibility criteria, staff will help them identify an alternative service that can support them.