London, as of much of Europe, has been subjected to some seriously freezing temperatures this winter, creating life-threatening dangers for anyone sleeping on the streets.
According to an article published in the Guardian in 2011, the number of people sleeping rough in Britain has risen for the first time in a decade. One harrowing image of this seemingly endless recession is the sight of more and more people being forced, through lack of work, unable to pay mortgage repayments or rent and becoming evicted from their homes, to sleep on the streets and in doorways in London.
In an attempt to tackle the rising problem of homelessness in London, particularly when faced with sub-zero temperatures, the Mayor of London has opened a city-hall funded emergency rough sleepers’ shelter in the district of Lambeth.
The shelter is being managed by St Mungo’s, a charity which has been helping homeless people since 1969. The emergency shelter at Lambeth will provide homeless people in London with a hot shower, a bed, clean clothes and food. There is also advice and support offered to people about finding more permanent accommodation to help get them off the streets for good.
The emergency shelter has been funded by Boris Johnson, and was opened as a lifeline to people sleeping rough during the freezing weather London was faced with during the winter.
In a press release about the emergency shelter in Lambeth, the London Mayor said:
“This shelter will offer a vital lifeline when temperatures tumble to sub-zero levels and rough sleepers risk losing their lives in the cold. As well as getting people out of the icy weather, it will provide them with the help they need to rebuild their lives so they can get off the streets for good.”
The emergency shelter is part of London’s plans to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012. This ambitious plan includes the ‘Pan-London No Second Night Out’ initiative, which is aimed at ensuring that no ‘new’ rough sleepers in London spend a second night on the streets.