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‘Each of these statistics is a human in need’: Homelessness charity appeals for help as rough sleeping numbers spiral

A homelessness charity is appealing for volunteers to help support the spiralling number of people sleeping rough across the capital.

The latest annual figures published by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show that two in every 10 people sleeping rough in London were found in Westminster over 2023/24. Figures also revealed a 72 per cent increase in the number of people rough sleeping in Greenwich.

In total, CHAIN reported 11,993 people rough sleeping in London during 2023/24, with 2,012 seen in Westminster and 337 people in Greenwich.

Sofia Barbosa, chief executive officer of Emmaus Greenwich, said: “We must remember each of these statistics is a human being in need.

“It is appalling for so many individuals to be forced into rough sleeping, particularly when we are seeing rises in almost every part of London year after year.”

Emmaus Greenwich provides at home, support, training and work opportunities for up to 45 people from its base in Plumstead.  The charity also reaches out to people in need at three ‘Street Souls’ solidarity points in Woolwich and Westminster.

One of Emmaus Greenwich’s charity shops and its community home for people with experience of homelessness (Picture: Emmaus)

Ms Barbosa said: “Emmaus Greenwich is trying to do as much as possible to help people who are homeless or in need, seen or unseen in this CHAIN report. 

“We are providing immediate support within our Emmaus charity for adults who want a home, training and work opportunities.

“We need volunteers to join our team to continue tailoring and strengthening our provision for people in Westminster and Greenwich to support what we are working to achieve, to work together to end homelessness.”

At Emmaus Greenwich’s solidarity points people in need can receive housing advice, signposting of services, a free meal and a drink, phone wifi and charging points.

These sessions take place on the first and third Friday of every month from its Street Souls Solidary Point at St Stephen’s Church in Rochester Row, Westminster from 12:30pm to 2:30pm.

Further Street Souls Solidarity Points take place at Greenwich’s Woolwich Service Users Project (WSUP) at 107 Brookhill Road on Mondays between 3pm and 6pm and Woolwich Common Community Centre, in Leslie Smith Square on the first and third Thursday of each month from 6pm to 8pm.

If you would like to become a volunteer visit: https://emmaus.org.uk/greenwich/support-us/volunteer/

For people requiring help with a home, training and work opportunities at Emmaus Greenwich, visit https://emmaus.org.uk/greenwich/.

A spokesman from the Department of  Housing and Communities and Local Government said: “This is unacceptable. Going forward we will develop a new cross-government strategy, working with mayors and councils across the country to put Britain on back on track to ending homelessness once and for all.

“More details on a new strategy for ending homelessness will be set out in due course.”

(Picture: PA)


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