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31 January 2024

As the UK's largest provider of night shelters, we are experiencing a huge increase in demand for our emergency night shelters in London. The shelters opened in November and in just 10 weeks the number of people who registered for a place in our shelter exceeded 1,000 which compares to 730 referrals in the same period last year, meaning that the rate of referrals this year is 37% higher. 

Alarmingly, 85% of referrals reported that they were sleeping rough prior to reaching out to Glass Door for shelter, while others reported sleeping on buses or sofa surfing. Nearly half are individuals aged between 18 and 35, indicative of a worrying increase in youth homelessness across the capital.  

This comes as the latest quarterly Combined Homelessness And Information Network (CHAIN) report, released earlier today, shows that the number of people seen sleeping rough in London by outreach teams between October and December 2023 was 23% higher than the same period in the previous year. Also notable from the CHAIN report is that the number of people recorded sleeping rough for the very first time was 34% higher than in 2022. 

Glass Door has reacted to this huge increase in homelessness by extending its shelter season by an additional three weeks.

This decision comes at a time when Glass Door is grappling with the consequences of recent Home Office policies, which have led to the eviction of many refugees from government-provided hotels, further exacerbating the homelessness crisis in London. This issue has been compounded by the shortage of affordable housing in the capital and the cost-of-living crisis – creating a perfect storm that is causing significant stress across the homeless sector.  

Jo Carter, CEO of Glass Door Homeless Charity, said: "Our mission at Glass Door has always been to provide shelter and support to those facing homelessness across London, but the recent spike in demand, especially among younger individuals, is unprecedented and deeply concerning. Our experience on the front line is very much in line with the latest CHAIN data. Not only are we seeing a massive demand for our shelter service, but our team of 15 caseworkers are facing an increase in demand for our day-time services, supporting individuals struggling across London.” 

Matthew Falk, Head of Operation and Service Development at Glass Door, said: “We are seeing an unprecedented need for shelter in LondonThe people turning to us for help are more likely to be rough sleeping and are younger than in the past

We are unable to meet the need for shelter in London but without our services an additional 105 people would be sleeping rough in London each night.

Glass Door not only provides a safe place to sleep during the winter, but throughout the year its team of caseworkers also offer support and advice to help individuals find a route out of homelessness. As the crisis deepens, the charity's role in providing a lifeline to those affected by homelessness becomes ever more crucial.  

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