The CrisisBlog

The Crisis Blog: conversations on matters related to homelessness.

Views here do not necessarily reflect those of Crisis.


A to-do list for Sadiq Khan

Congratulations to Sadiq Khan on being elected Mayor of London.

The Mayor has big powers on homelessness in London, including a £34 million budget and the ability to get boroughs and services working together. Previous Mayors have used this to launch programmes like No Second Night Out and the Rough Sleepers ‘205’ initiative which have had a demonstrable impact on tackling rough sleeping.

However, rough sleeping in London has risen and risen dramatically. 7,581 people were seen sleeping rough by outreach teams last year, and this number has doubled over 5 years.

Homelessness is a devastating experience with significant impacts for an individual’s health and wellbeing. Mental and physical health problems can be caused or exacerbated by rough sleeping. Homelessness is also dangerous, with homeless people 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime than the general public. Shockingly, the average age of death for a homeless person is just 47 – 30 years younger than the national average.

The new Mayor needs to take urgent action to turn this around. Sadiq has already spoken out about homelessness, has visited Crisis at Christmas and backed new laws to prevent people sleeping on the streets.

But we need a major plan of action if we are to make London the greatest city in the world at preventing and tackling homelessness.

Last year, Crisis brought together the homelessness sector in London to form the Lead London Home campaign and agree six key asks of the new Mayor. This is what we would like Sadiq to do:

  • Lead a new drive to end rough sleeping, including providing at least 2000 homes and a Housing First programme for former rough sleepers.
  • Prioritise homelessness prevention and scale up the No First Night Out scheme.
  • Increase access to private rented sector housing and tenancy support for people on the lowest incomes.
  • End destitution by working across the European Union to find solutions to EU nationals sleeping on the streets.
  • Embed the needs of homeless people at the heart of London’s public services.
  • Fight for a better deal for London to mitigate the negative impact of welfare reform on people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.

We are ready to work with Sadiq when he starts his new job to put these plans into action. Ending homelessness in our city won’t be easy, but we believe it is possible. What a legacy that would be for the Mayor of London.