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Glass Door has been operating emergency winter night shelters for over 20 years. We run the UK's largest network of open access night shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

Open access in practice means no matter who you are or where you come from, you can turn to Glass Door for support.

We launched our emergency night shelter service on Monday 6th November 2023, offering 105 spaces per night across three shelters in West & Southwest London. 8th April 2024 marked the close of our night shelters until next winter. Our casework service will continue to operate year-round as always.

Our shelters were operated by 45 shelter staff and more than 600 volunteers, as well as our year-round Casework and Operations Team, allowing us to deliver our shelter provision seven days a week in each of the three rotating circuits over the last five months. This winter we expanded the scale of our operation and operated a women’s shelter for the first time, which was a great success.

We will share more in-depth analysis of the data and insight we collected from our shelter provision in the coming months, but here is a quick overview of our 2023-2024 night shelter season:

  • We received 1,568 referrals
  • 542 people stayed in the shelters
    • 314 men and 226 women
    • 83% were previously sleeping rough
    • 39% under the age of 35
    • 34% aged 35-49
    • 27% aged 50+
    • 24% from the UK, 21% Eritrean, 5% Sudanese, 4% Ethiopian and 4% Polish
  • The average stay was 26.3 days

Although the cost-of-living crisis and the ever-growing challenge to find affordable and quality housing in London puts great pressure on our caseworkers, we’re celebrating these positive outcomes:

  • 388 (72%) engaged with caseworkers
  • 105 guests have been moved to more permanent housing so far: 56 women, 49 men
  • 23 guests have been connected with health services
  • 62% of women referred to our shelters preferred to be in a single-gender shelter, showing the value of adding a women’s shelter this winter

Although shelters have closed, our year-round casework team will continue to support the 388 guests who engaged to build their route out of homelessness.

We shared the story of one of the guests who used our women’s shelter and women’s drop-in service as part of our Spring Appeal – read Hellen’s story here: Hellen’s Story 

You can also read about what a typical night at one of our shelters is like here: A Night in the Shelter