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Glass Door has been running our Winter Night Shelters for over 20 years, and they are an important part of the support we offer those experiencing homelessness. Across three South West London boroughs, a network of churches and community venues, along with a dedicated team of shelter staff, caseworkers and volunteers provide vital support to people rough sleeping in the coldest months.

Every guest in the shelters is offered tea & coffee upon arrival, informative induction from the Night Shelter Manager, a hot & nutritious dinner and a light breakfast in the morning.

After a pause during the pandemic, we successfully ran three winter night shelter circuits between December 2022 and March 2023. Plans were developed in consultation with local authorities and public health contacts with Covid-19 precautions built in to ensure we could safely deliver this project. 

We provided emergency shelter every night for 16 weeks to almost 300 guests, many of whom also took the opportunity to engage with one of our caseworkers.  

The average night stay was 22 nights, and 62% of those guests sought advice & support from one of our Caseworkers. The support they provided ranged from opening bank accounts to helping guests into employment and supporting them to find a safe place to call home.

This year we’re expanding the capacity of our night shelters for up to 105 people every night. Over the past five years we’ve seen a consistent increase in the number of women needing our services, and we were unable to meet the demand for women’s night shelter spaces. This winter, Glass Door will run our first women’s night shelter. This London service will be the only women's emergency winter shelter provision for women experiencing homelessness in the UK. 

Have a peek below at what a typical night at the shelter looks like.

A Night at a Winter Night Shelter

7:00pmGuest arrives at night shelter, is welcomed by the Night Shelter Manager and volunteer – and offered tea & coffee. 

8:00pmDinner is served – a hot and nourishing three course meal. Guests sit down to eat with the volunteers. 

8:30pmWhile finishing the main, the manager comes to them and does a short induction. 

8:50pmDinner finishes and volunteers start to clean up. 

9:15pmGuests begin to bed down. 

10:00pmLights are turned off 

10pm to 6am Two overnight staff check on the guests every 20 minutes, if anyone is having trouble sleeping, they offer tea and lend a listening ear. 

6:00am Lights are switched on and breakfast is served. Breakfast is light; toast, jam, coffee and porridge. 

6:45amGuests begin to depart for the day. Many will visit our partner day centres during the day, where they can access support from our Caseworkers.