Projects We Support
Streets of London funds projects where the money will make a real difference to the lives of homeless people in London.
There are many great charities across the capital that provide daily support to homeless people, but because only a few of them are well known, many struggle to secure the funding they need.
We make sure that your money gets to where it will have a real impact, funding some amazing projects at some great smaller charities that offer direct support.
Using our knowledge and experience of the sector, we identify projects where the funding will make a real difference, providing homeless people with the support they need to get back on their feet and empowering them to make lasting changes in their lives.
Streets of London is delighted to announce a new series of grants for 2019 - totalling £100,000 - to ten amazing projects across London that support the city’s homeless.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, in the last five years Streets of London has provided more than £450,000 of vital funding to the homeless sector in London. Below is some information about the projects funded this year and the important work they do.
Drop-in project (£10,000 grant)
To move away from a life on the streets, people experiencing homelessness often need support in a variety of areas. Drop-in centres help address immediate practical and physical needs such as food and medical support, but also offer a place where homeless people will be listened to and supported to begin their journey back into housing and work, with attention to their individual needs.
The twice-weekly crisis drop-in service run by the Margins Project at Union Chapel provides a safe, welcoming space and immediate respite to people in crisis, offering food and refreshments, showers, laundry facilities and fresh clothing.
An advice worker is always on hand to work with guests on housing and other referrals, including drug and alcohol issues, benefits advocacy and health. They help people access temporary shelter and hostel accommodation, as well as exploring longer-term housing options. Other services include a job club, a supported employment training programme, help with language learning and numeracy and the project also offers individual therapy.
Employment support (£10,000 grant)
Most people who are homeless want to work, but because of their situation they often face a number of barriers. Help with finding a job can make all the difference. WLM Seymour Place provides an employment support programme that helps homeless people prepare for, find and then keep paid work.
They help with all of the practical elements of job-searching, such as providing access to the internet, help with preparing a CV and online job-searching, as well as a postal address, smart clothes, travel costs and interview coaching, replacing lost ID and paying for necessary certificates. They offer continued support when the person starts work and provide help with finding accommodation, enabling the person to sustain their new job.
Volunteer progression programme (£10,000 grant)
Volunteering can be a very empowering thing for a person who has been homeless. By taking an active volunteering role, people are made to feel useful, and regain confidence by recognising themselves as not just as someone who needs to be helped but who is capable of doing things and helping others too.
Groundswell’s volunteer Peer Advocates (all of whom have been homeless) support homeless people to attend health appointments, address physical and mental health problems and engage with health services. Meanwhile, Peer Researchers and Peer Journalists explore the issues directly affecting homeless people to give a voice to those people ‘on the ground’, creating insight that is then used by service providers and policy makers to inform improvements to homelessness services.
Volunteers’ traumatic past experience can mean they sometimes join the team with limited confidence, skills and knowledge of how make the next steps in their future. The Volunteer Progression Programme helps them to take the next step out of homelessness. A Progression Coach supports volunteers by focusing on their unique strengths and abilities, instead of their needs and issues, to build and sustain livelihoods beyond homelessness. This includes supporting people into employment, education or further volunteering opportunities and helping them tackle any personal issues such as debt or benefits.
Life-skills programme for young homeless people (£10,000 grant)
Unaccompanied refugee children and young people coming out of social care are two groups at a disproportionate risk of rough sleeping. Problems with family, including violence at home, are another reason some young people become homeless, and are left vulnerable and without anyone to turn to.
The Cardinal Hume Centre runs a hostel for young homeless people aged 16-24, which provides them with accommodation and holistic support. Many of them have led chaotic lives and lack independent living skills. Through the life-skills programme, the young people learn budgeting skills, how to make healthy meals on a budget and how to manage a tenancy.
They are exposed to career possibilities and group outings provide great opportunities for improving inter-personal skills, making friendships and building self-confidence. All of this allows them to develop a greater ability to take positive control of their lives.
English tuition (£10,000 grant)
It’s Your Move re-settlement scheme (£10,000 grant)
For many people who have been homeless, the move to living independently can be difficult. The Marylebone Project’s ‘It’s Your Move’ re-settlement scheme provides women who have been homeless with help to find and stay in long-term accommodation. Many of the women may have never had responsibility for managing their own home, and for many of them the move to a place of their own can be a daunting one. As well as providing help with finding housing, the programme offers support with meeting the challenges of living independently.
The women are given training, advice and support around budgeting, dealing with landlords, identifying sources of support, and exploring ways they can get involved in their local community. Additionally, they are offered support around accessing college courses, training and looking for work. Support with the challenges of everyday living helps women who used to be homeless to make a success of life in their new home.
Migrant support (£10,000 grant)
More than a tenth of people sleeping rough in London are from non-EU countries, but cuts to legal aid for immigration cases mean that they are often left with no access to advice. Many have limited English and minimal understanding of their rights, leaving them very vulnerable and with no way of establishing their status.
The immigration case-worker at Glass Door Homeless Charity offers free advice and guidance to those with no access to public funds, developing a relationship with each client in order to help them find a way off the streets. They work towards finding a resolution to the guest’s immigration status, alongside tackling any other issues that have led to the person becoming homeless.
Rough sleepers’ space (£10,000 grant)
The first priority for many homelessness services is meeting people’s immediate needs – for food, clothes, warmth and safety, and healthcare; particularly after a night spent out on the streets. The Spires Centre in Streatham offers a Rough Sleeper’s Space each week-day morning, where those who have been sleeping rough can have these needs met, but also feel welcomed and receive one-to-one support to help them break the cycle of homelessness. Support includes helping people to access accommodation, job-related training, also treatment services, such as for mental health and substance abuse; as well as building skills and resilience.
Catering, gardening & baking training (£10,000 grant)
Supporting people to manage things such as mental health or substance use issues can be critical to helping them out of homelessness and unemployment. At the same time, building their skills and confidence around work can help them to more actively tackle other issues in their lives. Providence Row, in East London, offers work training programmes in gardening, catering and baking, providing trainees with the opportunity to develop practical skills and gain qualifications in food hygiene, baking and horticulture, as well as offering support into further volunteering, work placements or employment.
Trainees taking part in the gardening scheme (run from the charity’s roof-top garden) help to grow produce for the kitchen to use, while catering trainees help to produce 30-50 meals daily for rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people using the centre. While taking part, trainees are also able to access support and advice around other issues they may be facing.
Step Up volunteering project (£10,000 grant)
Overcoming homelessness is often about more than finding accommodation and work. Before these things can happen some people may need support to re-build their confidence, their skills, their sense of engagement and worth. Volunteering can be a very effective way of doing this. At The Connection at St Martin's day centre in Westminster, an in-house volunteering programme provides homeless people who may not yet be ready for external work with an opportunity for meaningful occupation and the chance to develop their skills, including things such as time-keeping, communicating with others and working in a team.
They help with a variety of tasks around the centre, for example setting up activities, greeting new clients, helping in the kitchen, supporting training for other clients and involvement in the recruitment of new staff. It can be a very empowering experience for people. Most volunteers progress onto other training, volunteering, and work opportunities.
A huge thank you to our supporters, without whose generosity none of this would be possible.
With the right support, people who have experienced homelessness can turn their lives around. Streets of London raises money that goes directly to projects that are changing lives every day, helping ensure that people who are homeless are able to get the support they need. The issues they face are often complex, but attention to their individual situations and needs can make all the difference in helping them move off the streets and move on with their lives.
If you would like to support our work, please click HERE to make a donation today.
Previous Streets of London-funded projects include:
Night shelter - offering respite from the streets for vulnerable rough sleepers; a bed for the night, an evening and morning meal, and access to one-to-one housing and benefits support
Rehabilitation hostel - offering a safe and supportive environment for homeless men recovering from addictions
Mental health support - providing proper assessment and support for homeless people suffering from mental health difficulties
Hospital project - helping to prevent homeless hospital patients from being discharged back onto the streets
Housing and welfare advice - supporting rough sleepers into accommodation and providing help with accessing benefits
- Mentoring and befriending programme - supporting people's transition into paid employment with a one-to-one mentoring relationship, to help them adjust to and sustain their new job
Catering training programme - giving homeless people the skills and work experience to pursue a new career in catering
Home for good tenancy support - supporting people in the transition to independent living and life in a new community, providing support with the challenges of everyday living
Creating a communal space - refurbishing a day centre, providing a welcoming environment where people who have been marginalised can engage with others and learn new skills
Meet a few of the people helped by Streets of London projects:
Anthony, who had experienced problems with drugs and been in and out of prison, found himself homeless and sofa surfing. He ended up staying with his niece, but he began to feel himself to be a burden and so left. He slept in an electrical cupboard before making his way to the Spires centre. Through their Rough Sleeper’s Space, his support worker Shirley helped him to find accommodation within a few days. He’s continued to receive support from Spires, such as training in budgeting, which has helped him sustain his accommodation, and he is still living in the same place. He now volunteers at Spires and is in training to become a support worker himself.
“Volunteering is a way for me to say thank you and to give something back. I plan to complete a support worker course as that is now my ambition.”
Bobo had been homeless, but even after finding some accommodation he was struggling; he wasn’t engaged in much outside activity, and he was lonely, unhappy and drinking quite a bit. He joined the bakery training scheme at Providence Row, despite having never baked before in his life, and picked up some of the skills quickly. He has gone on to gain a Level 2 accreditation in Food Hygiene, and also now mentors other bakery trainees. Additionally, he has been getting involved in other activities such as IT classes and the Gardening Training Scheme. Taking part has not only helped Bobo develop practical and transferable skills, but also to regain his confidence and mental well-being, and he has been drinking less since getting involved. He is now looking to find work in his former field of security and feeling much more positive about his future.
“It’s putting me back to normal, where I was supposed to be…and now I’m feeling better. Mentally, physically, I’m okay. I’ve got something every Wednesday, Friday, I have to go do something, something that I like.”
After experiencing homelessness, Dennis knew what it was to feel a real lack of self-worth and confidence. He began taking part in the Step Up volunteering programme at Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, and has held a number of roles through the programme, such as serving as a first point of contact for new clients at the centre, supporting fundraising events, and participating in interview panels for new staff. Each role brought different challenges that supported his personal development, but most importantly helped him to rebuild his sense of worth. He is now living independently, and encourages other clients at the centre to get involved, knowing the difference that it made for him in discovering his talents and strengths.
“I have been there in the depths of despair and I felt that I would be good for nothing. Now I am trusted, empowered – a voice that is listened to. My confidence helps other homeless people to the point that some even think of me as a friend/confidante. There is no better feeling.”
Chris, 59, had a background as a mechanical engineer but had not been in work for more than ten years. He suffered from memory loss, as well as depression. Through the Jobs Club at C4WS, he expressed an interest in construction work, and was able to take part in a practical course and was also matched with a mentor. The new skills he has developed through the course and the positive relationship he developed with his mentor have changed things for him dramatically. He is now going on to work towards a construction certificate and is also volunteering supporting other guests at C4WS. Although the six month mentoring scheme has ended, he and his mentor have remained friends, and Chris says that he no longer feels worthless for the first time in a long time.
“The course was life-saving. Getting to know new skills which I am still learning now through painting and decorating, brick-laying, plastering and rendering – it saved my life – fantastic! And [my mentor] is like my best friend…I mean that.”
Life at home for Abu, 19, was troubled; some traumatic experiences led to difficult relationships between family members, and Abu was eventually asked to leave home. He found himself homeless. He began attending New Horizon Youth Centre and got involved with a number of the services there, such as the centre’s independent living skills workshops and Employment, Education and Training work. He started building up work experience, developing his CV and looking for jobs. However, his unstable living situation made securing employment difficult. When a place opened up in the charity’s own accommodation, though, Abu was able to move in. He received support from them with learning to cook and pay bills, and managing his benefits. He also found a support network in his new housemates. Learning to live independently in his new home, he was able to focus his energy on finding work, and after a very competitive process he has now secured a prestigious apprenticeship in business administration, which he hopes will lead to a career.
“I can’t put in words how important having my own space is. Now I have somewhere to call my own!”
*Please note some names have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy.*