Ahead of World Homeless Day (10 October), Single Homeless Project, the largest homeless charity dedicated to helping Londoners in crisis, is reporting a dramatic surge in requests for their emergency grants to help people survive the current cost of living crisis.  

The charity, which helps over 10,000 Londoners every year, is concerned this demonstrates a significant shift from coping to surviving for those at risk of homelessness. Despite the additional Government support available, the charity warns that the huge increase in energy bills and food prices will force more people into homelessness. 

The charity’s homelessness prevention teams help Londoners facing homelessness to stay in their own homes and operate an emergency grant scheme for urgent situations. Last year, they had over 500 requests for travel cards, mobile phones and top ups, IDs, clothing and essentials for moving into a new home. This year, they have already received 1,000 requests. Worryingly, most of these have been for ‘survival items’ such as food vouchers and energy top ups. 

Chantall Roberts, Service Manager, Single Homeless Project said: “The best way to end homelessness is to stop it from happening in the first place. We’re helping our clients with accessing the benefits they’re entitled to, negotiating with landlords and budgeting carefully, but there’s only so much you can cut back on when you’re already on the breadline. Our staff are doing their best, but our clients need more help with keeping the lights on and their bellies full. Being in survival mode is a scary place to be and I’m really worried about the numbers of people that could be forced into homelessness this winter.” 

Jason, 51 who lives in South East London said: “I have 96p on my electricity meter right now. My universal credit payments just aren’t enough to keep me afloat. I’ve been selling things to make money to put in my gas and electric meters. I’ve also been staying in my bedroom under the covers so I don’t have to put the heating on, having fewer showers and letting the washing up pile up so I don’t use as much hot water. It’s been keeping me up at night. I’m really worried.” 

Single Homeless Project helps one Londoner at risk of or experiencing homelessness every hour. For World Homeless Day, the charity is asking for donations to top up energy meters for Londoners struggling during the cost of living crisis. 100 per cent of donations will go directly to people on the brink of homelessness.  

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