Over 3,000 Hackney households have started the year without a home: here’s how we’re responding

Late last year, Mayor Caroline Woodley, colleagues and volunteers attended our rough sleeper count – an annual audit giving a snapshot of the number of people who have resorted to sleeping on Hackney’s streets.

Our outreach team will now work with the 15 people we found sleeping rough that night to try and support them into accommodation. It is a testament to the work of the team and our partners that we’ve been able to keep the numbers as low as they are at a time of crisis for housing in Hackney.

But street homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg. Over 3,000 households in Hackney are among more than 300,000 nationwide who spent Christmas without a home. Instead they were in temporary accommodation such as hostels or bed and breakfasts, often away from their support networks or without the space and facilities they need. That figure includes enough homeless children to fill eight primary schools.

Our new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, adopted at Cabinet in December, is our plan to tackle this. It won’t solve the problem overnight – not least without proper investment in social housing that we’ve been calling central government for, or the link between benefits and real housing costs being restored.

However it will ensure we strengthen the advice, support and tools available to people at risk of homelessness need, and make sure that no one in Hackney is left facing homelessness alone.

That means maximising access to short and long-term affordable housing, tackling rough sleeping, addressing homelessness among young people in Hackney and much more.

It also means working with partners and securing whatever vital funds we can. Last month we secured more than £4 million in GLA funding for three partnerships that will give intensive support and housing for homeless residents with complex needs – including dedicated support aimed at young people and ex-offenders.

But individual funding pots to help small numbers of people will only ever be a sticking plaster for a crisis that affects thousands. Our strategy shows that we are ready and able to support anyone who is homeless. Yet to provide the solutions that everyone deserves – a good, safe, secure and genuinely affordable home – needs the government to address the root causes of homelessness of the crisis we face.

Cllr Sade Etti, Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing Needs and Homelessness

How we can help you

If you think you are going to become homeless or are homeless, you should try to get help from the Council as soon as possible. 

  • Contact us – if you or someone you know is at risk of homelessness

How you can help

  • Talk: A smile or ‘hello’ can make a big difference, to help someone feel less invisible and part of the community
  • Tap: Donate to the Mayor of London’s rough sleeping fund, which supports local charities. There are donation points at Hackney Town Hall reception and at the cafe in the Hackney Service Centre, in Reading Lane, both in Hackney Central.
  • Time: Find out about local volunteering opportunities at Volunteer Centre Hackney
  • Tell Street Link – if you’re concerned about someone rough sleeping or direct them to the Greenhouse in Tudor Road, E9, the Council’s one stop shop for advice and services for people facing homelessness.