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18 October 2021

As thousands are predicted to become homeless in the coming months, Glass Door launches an animated film today narrated by actor Colin Firth.

It tells the real stories of five individuals who recently became homeless, one of whom acted as an advisor on the making of the short film. The advisor, whom we call Alex in the film, said: 

I never expected to be in the situation I found myself last year. But when my wife died, my world crumbled. And when I looked for help, I was shocked to find very little available.

The characters in the film are all called Alex, and they all turned to Glass Door after being unable to find support elsewhere.

Many find support difficult to find when they need it most

Most non-UK nationals have limited access to benefits. Other individuals are rejected because they can’t prove a local connection to a borough. And even when someone does have the proof, too often they are told they are simply not a priority.

At Glass Door, we think everyone is worthy of support.

Each person who walks through our doors has their own story, and they all deserve the chance to rewrite their next chapter. Some sleep on buses. Others in cars, on couches or under bridges. Not everyone who is homeless sleeps rough, but those who do often remain hidden.

We all need to have a place where we are seen—a place where someone knows our name. At Glass Door, we believe services that support people affected by homelessness need to be accessible by all, regardless of someone’s local connection, nationality, or ability to navigate a complex system.  

Signs point to a growing crisis

People who become homeless often have multiple underlying issues that have contributed to their homelessness (debt, poor mental health, a relationship breakdown); but now, a growing number of people are being squeezed by rising costs and a shrinking welfare net. In fact, the number of people seen sleeping on the streets in London this past year by outreach teams was 3% higher compared to the previous year and almost twice that of ten years ago.  A growing number were homeless for the first time and had no underlying mental health or addiction issues. 

And many predict it’s about to get much worse. In the past weeks, the furlough scheme and the uplift in universal credit ended. At the same time, the cost of heating and overall living is rising. People are turning to Glass Door with eviction letters in hand asking if they have any options. They are not alone: as many as 400,000 renting households have either been served an eviction notice or have been told they may be evicted, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. All this is happening while the pandemic is still preventing many homelessness services from opening fully.

Open-access services are a life-saving safety net

Time and again, guests of Glass Door say they don’t know where they would be without the open door they found at the charity. A warm place to sleep in winter and support to move beyond homelessness are lifelines.

Glass Door believes support to move beyond homelessness should be available to all, because safe housing is a human right.

At Glass Door, we know from 23 years of experience in London that too many people fall through the gaps every winter. Some people won’t be eligible for rooms funded by the public purse, while others may not engage due to poor mental health, trauma or lack of trust. Those who have suffered at the hand of abusers or have experienced modern day slavery are sometimes scared to approach official channels.

For these people, and until we can provide safe home for all, Glass Door's services can act as a life-saving safety net. 

Meet Alex.

To help others like Alex find routes out of homelessness: