Today, Mayor Sadiq Khan launched London’s first Rough Sleeping Charter; a public commitment through which Londoners can join forces to end rough sleeping. More than 100 organisations – including us – have played a role in designing and developing the charter; outlining a shared purpose and vision for addressing rough sleeping in the capital.
The Rough Sleeping Charter outlines essential principles crucial for tackling homelessness and provides a roadmap for collective action. Its recommendations include:
Public involvement is central to the success of this initiative. Londoners are encouraged to sign the charter pledge, showcasing their commitment to addressing rough sleeping collectively. By signing the pledge, individuals become advocates for change, urging government ministers, the Mayor, and elected local politicians to prioritise the funding and attention needed to end rough sleeping.
The urgency of the matter is highlighted by City Hall’s Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) data. Which indicates a 12 percent increase in rough sleepers from July to September 2023 compared to the previous year. With 4,068 individuals documented sleeping rough, the data underscores the pressing need for concerted efforts to address the issue.
Sadiq Khan has emphasised the national trend of rising rough sleeping and called for a government emergency winter support package totalling £20 million. This funding would ensure the provision of sufficient emergency accommodation and assistance during the colder months. The Mayor activates the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) when temperatures drop below 0°C. Prompting organisations to open additional emergency shelters for those sleeping rough (Evolve takes part in this as well). SWEP was operational for 28 nights last winter and has already been activated for five nights this winter. While the current bed capacity during SWEP activation exceeds last year’s; growing demand highlights the need for additional government investment to ensure comprehensive support for everyone in need.
The root causes of homelessness, such as tenancy loss and relationship breakdowns, require multifaceted solutions. The charter’s principles emphasise preventive measures, support for those at risk, and recognition of the diverse needs of individuals experiencing rough sleeping.
How you can make a difference:
Collaboration, public involvement, and collective action are essential components in the fight against rough sleeping. The Rough Sleeping Charter is a significant step forward, but it requires the active participation of individuals, businesses, and authorities to make a lasting impact. By signing the pledge, raising awareness, and supporting charities, each Londoner can play a vital role in creating meaningful change.
You can sign the charter here.