Over the last year or so we have been proud to work with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism on their landmark project documenting the deaths of people experiencing street homelessness. This week, at a special service at St Martin in the Fields, we mark those who have passed away whilst experiencing homelessness in London. Each year we read the names of those who have passed away, and this year there are more than 150 people to remember.

The BIJ research identified 400 who people died in the last year alone while rough sleeping In England and Wales. This is shocking, but for the many who volunteer in the 110 Church and Community Night Shelter projects that Housing Justice supports, the news will sadly come as no surprise. We all know the number of people rough sleeping has increased exponentially over the last decade. We know how dangerous rough sleeping is, with the life expectancy of a person experiencing homelessness almost half the national average.

In the work Housing Justice does with Church and Community Night Shelters across the country, we often speak of the potential these projects have to transform lives. We often overlook the fact that they can literally save lives too.

This winter, Housing Justice is launching our biggest drive yet to get people off the streets and into stable accommodation and we’re announcing record funding to support faith and community groups to act now, to do something about rough sleeping.

If you’re in London;

  • Have you got a vacant building that could be used over the winter months on a temporary basis as a night shelter? Contact us now to explore how it can be used.
  • Are you a faith or community group who wants to run a winter night shelter in your area? Get in touch now and one of our team will contact you to explore the options and see whether your group could be eligible for our Equipping Shelters Fund, which aims to dramatically increase the number of shelter beds this winter.
  • If you’re already running a shelter project in London, get in touch to see how we can support your project to help even more people experiencing homelessness, including support to help people to move on into sustainable accommodation.

We know all too well that night shelters alone won’t be the solution to the homelessness crisis in our country, with many complex issues that need to be addressed. But we believe it is completely unacceptable to see the numbers of people sleeping rough in London and across the country, and we all have a role to play in changing that situation.

You can find out more about the grants programme and how to apply here; https://www.housingjustice.org.uk/grants