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.
This year Streets of London has made grants totalling £110,000 to eleven amazing projects across London that support the city’s homeless.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, in the last six years Streets of London has provided more than £560,000 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.
COVID-19 response (£10,000 shared between 5 partner charities)
It’s been a difficult time for many of us during the coronavirus outbreak, but especially so for people who are homeless in the capital and living on its streets. Lots of day centres had to close their doors from early on during the pandemic, due to the risk of homeless people and staff infecting each other when in close proximity.
However, many charities have found new ways to continue helping people:
- Placing the majority of rough sleepers in hotels and providing ongoing support to them while they're there
- Helping to find those people longer-term accommodation
- Outreach teams providing help to rough sleepers still out on the streets, bringing them food, offering help with getting their meds/prescription drugs, providing warm clothing, medical attention and other support
- Providing mobile phones to people so they can report feeling unwell and can stay in touch for support more generally
Where day centres have closed, many have continued to case-work clients remotely where possible, offering phone-based advice, advocacy and emotional support.
The economic fall-out of the pandemic has resulted in a whole new swathe of people becoming homeless for the first time, so the homeless sector faces a new challenge to support all these people off the streets quickly, before their situation deteriorates.
Rehabilitation hostel (£10,000 grant)
Addiction can be hugely damaging and can be a cause or a result of homelessness. 40% of people sleeping rough in London have alcohol support needs and the same percentage have substance use needs. Spitalfields Crypt Trust’s Acorn House offers a safe and supportive environment for homeless men recovering from addictions.
Residents tend to be long-term homeless, recovering from addictions such as alcohol, drugs or gambling. An abstinence-based environment, the hostel provides a friendly, safe and reliable place where support, recovery and healing can take place.
It provides intensive one-to-one and group therapy to help people work through whatever has led to their addiction. To ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic, for the time being this support takes place mainly over the phone or via video conferencing.
Read Will’s story HERE.
Drop-in support (£10,000 grant)
Everyone’s situation is different, but typically a person experiencing homelessness will need support in a number of areas. As well as helping to address immediate practical and physical needs such as food and medical attention, drop-in centres also provide help around the person’s wider needs.
The Upper Room’s Hub for the Homeless offers in-depth one-to-one support around housing advice, complex needs (including mental health and alcohol/substance use) and employment support (including help with CVs, job-searching, obtaining a national insurance number, registering for self-employment, replacing lost/stolen ID, construction skills training and more).
They offer a range of health & wellbeing sessions. They also have an in-house counsellor and multi-lingual volunteers on hand to translate/interpret where necessary.
Read Barry’s story HERE.
Culinary skills workshops (£10,000 grant)
Work can often be the securest route out of homelessness. A job can provide someone not only with money to live on, but also meaningful occupation, a restored sense of self-esteem, belonging and a social network.
‘Step Up to the Plate’ run by St Cuthbert's Centre is a culinary skills course run in partnership with local restaurants. The programme gives people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to develop the skills they need to begin a career in catering.
Comprising a mix of practical cookery classes, barista training and life-skills, the aim of the course it to help people get into paid employment. Graduates can receive recognised qualifications.
All graduates automatically qualify for a three-week paid work placement with a local restaurant, boosting their chances of successfully landing a job.
Education support for young homeless people (£10,000 grant)
‘Branching Out’ programme (£10,000 grant)
People experiencing homelessness have often lost contact with all friends and relatives, lost confidence and self-esteem, and may struggle to interact socially.
The ‘Branching Out’ programme, run for residents of Branches hostel, provides homeless men and women who often have high support needs and complex issues with the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities, training and volunteering.
It enables residents to explore their interests, regain their confidence and sense of self-worth, improve their skills, and build the strength and resilience they need to live independently, through a programme of regular activities including job skills training, life skills training, advice workshops, fitness and exercise classes, creative and artistic pursuits, and training, volunteering, and apprenticeship opportunities.
Intensive, individualised support enables the men and women to transform their prospects. When the time comes for residents to make a return to living independently, they have a much better chance of doing so with self-confidence, interests and friends, reconnected with family, and with skills and plans for the future.
Read Sat’s story HERE.
Volunteer co-ordinator at homeless day centre (£10,000 grant)
Volunteers make a massive contribution to homelessness charities in London, offering their time and skills to help benefit the people the charity is there to support.
Having a volunteer co-ordinator allows 999 Club to increase the charity’s capacity to provide support to homeless people. The centre’s volunteers help with cooking and serving breakfast and dinner, doing people’s laundry, talking to homeless clients, running workshops, undertaking client assessments and fundraising.
Proper recruitment, induction, training and supervision of volunteers ensures the maximum help to homeless people, as well as ensuring that the volunteer has everything they need for it to be a positive experience.
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.
Read James’s story HERE.
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 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.
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.
Re-settlement scheme for homeless women (£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.
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
- 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
Employment support project - helping homeless people to look for jobs and then find and keep work (careers advice, help with CVs, job applications, clothes and travel for interviews)
- 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
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
Catering, gardening 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
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%”.
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.*