Projects We Support
Streets of London (registered charity number 1155242) 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 totalling £150,000 to ten amazing projects across London that offer life-changing support to people experiencing homelessness.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, since 2015 Streets of London has provided more than £900,000 of vital funding to the homeless sector in London. Below is some information about each of the fantastic projects funded this year and the important work they do.
Street Outreach (£15,000 grant)
When someone becomes street homeless, it may not be immediately obvious where they can turn for help. Outreach teams get help to people where they are, going out and about late at night and early in the morning to locate people sleeping rough on the streets and offer support.
These teams - such as those run by SPEAR in south-west London - offer immediate crisis support such as providing warm clothes, and help people to access day centres for showers and hot meals, as well as longer-term support including help securing housing. This help can be life-saving, particularly in times of extreme temperatures.
For some people the transition away from life on the streets is a long and difficult one, but specialist teams can provide intensive support, gradually building trust and developing an individual relationship with each person, helping them to find their path out of homelessness.
Women’s Sanctuary (£15,000 grant)
Many women who become homeless are escaping domestic abuse, and then risk further violence on the streets (where three in ten female rough sleepers become victims of sexual violence at some point while homeless). As a result, women are often less visible among the homeless community - they may keep themselves out of sight for safety, and some avoid using homelessness services as they may feel unsafe around men.
The new women’s sanctuary at the 999 Club in Lewisham provides a safe and inclusive female-only space where women experiencing homelessness can receive personal support from other women, and have a voice in shaping the services provided. Women are enabled to access the wide range of support services provided by charity and partner organisations, helping them to move forward and take control of their lives.
Developing skill and opportunities (£15,000 grant)
For many people, a paid job is one of the most reliable routes out of homelessness. As well as earning money they can live on, people feel useful by being back in the workplace and can quickly regain their sense of self-worth, as well as gaining a social network.
Getting to that point can be a long journey for some people though. There can be practical issues such as lack of permanent address, clean clothes and access to phone and internet; personal barriers such as mental health issues, addiction, lack of confidence; as well as a need for developing skills.
The Connection at St Martin’s provides an opportunities and skills programme where a career coach works one-to-one with clients, developing trusting relationships to help them fulfil their aspirations, whether that’s getting into work or volunteering somewhere, or developing their knowledge and/or skills though education and training.
Support includes help with preparing a CV and online job-searching, as well as smart clothes, travel costs and interview coaching, replacing lost/stolen ID and paying for any necessary certificates/skills training, then continued support when the person starts work.
One-to-one support (£15,000 grant)
Permanent change for people who are homeless relies on them feeling empowered to transform their own lives. At Shelter from the Storm, a case-worker works one-to-one with guests to develop an individual, holistic support plan and help them find their personal path out of homelessness. The well-being of each guest is prioritised to ensure that they feel safe and supported, while working with them to set goals and a route to achieving them.
The primary aim for most is to help those who are able into employment, and from there into their own accommodation. Others may need other types of support before they are ready to work, but everyone is given a chance to grow and develop individually.
When someone is given the individual attention that their particular situation requires, they have a far better chance of being able to move beyond their circumstances and escape from homelessness to a more positive future.Digital inclusion (£15,000 grant)
So many essential parts of our everyday lives now rely on internet access, and people experiencing homelessness need adequate access to it to apply for jobs, housing and benefits; to book appointments; to connect and communicate with others, and to develop new skills.
Ace of Clubs in Clapham provides for the immediate needs of people who are homeless, and also aims to connect them with a wide range of other services, which very often requires the availability of adequate technology and support in using it.
A focus on digital inclusion means that clients can access the online services they need and also develop their IT skills, increasing their confidence in using technology - something vital in today’s world.
Life skills and language for homeless young people (£15,000 grant)
Young people leaving care and unaccompanied refugee children are two vulnerable groups particularly at risk of becoming homeless. Lack of a permanent address and stable social networks, sometimes along with experience of trauma, can make them especially vulnerable to destitution and exploitation.
At the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster, these young people are given a stable and welcoming place to stay, where they can receive support in developing practical life-skills such as cooking, shopping, home and financial management (budgeting, paying bills etc), with English language lessons for those who need them. There is also a focus on communication skills, living as part of a community and conflict resolution, as well as understanding their rights and responsibilities.
Besides learning these new skills, this support also enables young people to develop relationships and build self-confidence and self-reliance, all of which helps to improve their chances for the future as they move towards independent living.
Acorn House - part of Spitalfields Crypt Trust in Shoreditch - offers its residents a safe and supportive place to come and recover from addiction, and leave behind chaotic lives where many of them have suffered through homelessness, trauma and/or mental health issues.
The hostel’s counselling team delivers intensive addiction and trauma therapy, and there are opportunities for developing skills and training, as well as creative outlets. Most residents stay 6-9 months and leave sober, housed and with a sense of possibility and hope for the future.
Among people sleeping rough who come from non-EU countries, some face immigration issues that prevent them from accessing housing, employment and other support. Sources of support to resolve these issues are generally very limited. Some of these people have suffered exploitation such as trafficking, and many need additional support in other areas to end their homelessness.
At Glass Door in Chelsea, a dedicated migrant case-worker meets with individuals one-to-one, employing specialist immigration knowledge to support them in resolving any immigration issues that are contributing to their homelessness situation, as well as helping them to receive any support they made need in other areas.
Participation and progression programme (£15,000 grant)
Insight from people who have experienced homelessness is crucial when developing new policies and support structures to help people who are currently on the streets.
Groundswell in Lambeth trains people with experience of homelessness to become volunteers, giving them practical and professional knowledge to help them progress in their lives. Volunteers develop new research to inform the homeless sector’s policy development, feeding into reports which influence policy change at the highest levels, improving wider understanding of homelessness and the issues people face. Other volunteers there accompany people who are currently homeless to hospital appointments.
All of these people are able to participate in the work of the organisation while also being supported to progress individually. They receive pastoral, employment, financial, legal and welfare support; and they in turn help to support others who are currently homeless. They are able to move forward with their own lives, while also making a real difference to others.
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
Mental health support - providing proper assessment and support for homeless people suffering from mental health difficulties
- Housing and welfare advice - supporting rough sleepers into accommodation and providing help with accessing benefits
Rough sleepers' space - a daily drop-in session where people who are sleeping rough can feel welcomed, have their needs met and receive one-to-one support to help them break the cycle of homelessness
Gardening, hospitality and baking trainee schemes - work training programmes providing the opportunity to develop practical skills and gain qualifications
Step Up volunteering project - in-house volunteering programme providing homeless people who may not yet be ready for external work with an opportunity for meaningful occupation and the chance to develop new skills and re-build confidence
Catering training programme - giving homeless people the skills and work experience to pursue a new career in catering
- 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
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
English language tuition - one-to-one support, to help non-English speakers become less socially isolated and more employable
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
Re-settlement scheme for homeless women - helping them to find and stay in long-term accommodation
- Covid funding - special grants to keep homelessness services running during the pandemic
Meet a few of the people helped by Streets of London projects:
Will was suffering from chronic liver disease due to continued and progressive alcohol use. Prior to his arrival at Acorn House, he had been living in a homeless shelter following a period of hospitalisation. Will had not been in treatment before and struggled at first in the group work sessions, as he had social anxiety and deeply held anger issues which manifested in conflicts with his peers.
He was diagnosed in his time at the hostel with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of an abusive and turbulent childhood. However, he thrived in the one-to-one sessions, which he used to talk through his issues and discuss ways in which he could improve his relationships with others. This allowed him to get on much better with the other residents, slowly letting them get to know the ‘real’ him.
By the time Will was ready to move on, he had accrued one year’s sobriety, was working voluntarily in the restoration station (one of the charity’s social enterprises), was attending Alcoholics Anonymous regularly and had built a strong support network.
He is now living in a move-on house and is going from strength to strength. He is currently training to be a chef and works a few days each week in a restaurant which he thoroughly enjoys. Will has also rebuilt and repaired fractured relationships with his siblings, and is overall very positive about his future, and what may come. He has said that he has never felt happier in his entire life.
“The difference is unbelievable, you know, when I went in there, I didn't want to live. If I had the guts to kill myself, I would have. You know, I weighed about eight and half stone. When I went out of there, I felt confident about my life, hopeful about my life. Yeah. it's changed my life. Saved my life, 100%”.
[NB: name changed and stock photo used, to protect identity]
When Barry found out his wife had cancer, he tried everything to save her, but in vain. After a struggle that lasted several years, she died, leaving him not only broken-hearted but also completely broken. He had sold their house to pay for extra care and treatment for his wife and when she died he was left with debts, a terrible depression and lots of health issues.
After a while he decided to come to London to seek a new beginning. When Barry first came to The Upper Room’s Hub for the Homeless, he was really struggling but determined to move on. They supported his efforts, providing him with food each day, also helping him to get a national insurance number, a construction skills qualification and to look for work.
He soon found a job and was doing well until the coronavirus pandemic hit, when he lost this job and found himself homeless again. Someone he knew let him sleep in a car for a while. Soon thereafter, The Upper Room helped him to find some new accommodation, bought him some basic cooking equipment and referred him for regular food bank deliveries.
Barry is happy and very grateful that he is now somewhere safe. He is hoping life will get back to normal soon, and that he might be able to see his two sons again one day.
“No-one ever helped me or did anything for me for free, so I couldn’t believe there were places like this and people like you!”
Sat became homeless after his marriage broke down. He says:
“When you’re sleeping rough you don’t think straight. I never begged, borrowed, stole or did drugs. But I started drinking heavily. You lose everything. You lose your hygiene, you lose your brain. I lost my job, I lost my things in storage, and I missed my mum’s funeral. I was beaten up three times. I was robbed 13 times. My radio got stolen - that broke my heart. StreetLink referred me to Branches. It was like Premier Lodge! Branches helps to build you up. For the first time, I could have a proper wash. I saw a dentist, a GP, a chiropodist for my feet, a barber. Hot meals. Then they helped me with my benefits. I did all the courses. I learnt how to cook toad in the hole, and shepherd’s pie. I volunteered with them to collect donations for the hostel.”
Sat is no longer living there but they continue to support him:
“I have been clean for seven months now because of them. I used to attend the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings there every week, but then coronavirus and lockdown happened. Because we weren’t allowed to come close to other people, not even my GP, I had a breakdown in mid-July. I have depression and anxiety and I don’t want to be alone at home. I come to the hostel to play pool, have a sandwich and a nice cup of tea. They call me Uncle Sat. I’m here to help other people not to go through what I went through. I used to be embarrassed but I’m not anymore because Branches made me stronger. It is a lifeline for me.”
James had a long history of emotional and physical abuse and severe neglect. He was seventeen when he arrived at the Cardinal Hume Centre. During his initial assessment, James said he felt anxious, angry and depressed. He displayed signs of low self-esteem and poor personal hygiene.
During the first months of his stay, James isolated himself from the staff and the other residents. He actively avoided engagement other than the required meetings with his key worker. He was isolated and hardly ventured out of his room during the day. On inspection of his living space, it was clear that James was not coping. His room was extremely messy and his personal hygiene had deteriorated further.
Concerned for his deteriorating physical, mental and emotional health, James’s key-worker and life skills worker made a robust new support plan, with James agreeing to meet weekly with both workers. Sensitively, the most pressing issues of personal care were addressed first. James was given toiletries, washing powder and clean bed linen.
During regular meetings, cooking sessions and shopping trips, James became more open to discussing relationships within his family and the impact that these have had on him and he became more open to them helping him with the practical issues he’d been struggling with.
James is now looking after his room and his personal care has improved significantly. He no longer has to be coaxed out of his room, he is now always early for meetings or activities and participates fully. He is more interested in other aspects of his life and is accepting help. James hopes to get into employment and move on. He is aware of what he needs to do and is taking significant steps in the right direction.
“I wasn’t looking after myself. I struggled with people trying to help. I withdrew and became anxious. I isolated myself. Not used to the happiness and people being interested in me, I mistrusted everyone. I didn’t want to see anyone, I was very defensive. I wanted to change but struggled, because I was always surrounded by negative influences.
I really value the time and help with structure.”
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, in some cases names have been changed and photographs of different people used, to protect individuals’ privacy.*