Homelessness has no place in 21st century London. Yet we are in the grip of a homelessness crisis, as lack of affordable housing, insecure tenancies and welfare cuts force increasing numbers of people on to the capital’s streets.

According to government figures, homelessness is now at its highest level for a decade and rough sleeping in London has more than doubled since 2010, with almost a thousand people sleeping rough in the capital on any one night.

Tip of the iceberg

Homelessness is not limited to rough sleeping - in fact, the majority of homeless people are ‘hidden homeless’, sleeping on friends' floors and sofas, in bed and breakfasts or in supported accommodation such as hostels. Taking this into account, a December 2016 report by Shelter estimated that more than a quarter of a million people are homeless in England.

Due to successive years of cuts, many London councils are stretched to the limit as they struggle to do more with less. 

That’s why our work – with its focus on early intervention, prevention and breaking the cycle of behaviours that trap people in homelessness – is more important than ever.

Who are the ‘single homeless’?

Since SHP’s inception, the majority of people we work with have been ‘single homeless’ – people who are homeless but do not meet the ‘priority need’ criteria to be housed by their local authority under the law.

As this status is largely reserved for families with children, many vulnerable people tend to fall through gaps in services, and can easily find themselves trapped in a cycle of exclusion and homelessness.

While the new Homelessness Reduction Act, passed in April 2017, will go some way to extending local authorities' duty of care to a wider group of people, it is likely that single homeless people will still be disadvantaged and will continue to struggle to access they support they need.

With homelessness on the rise and cuts affecting the most vulnerable, our work is more needed than ever.


How we prevent homelessness and transform lives