If someone is at risk of rough sleeping, the local authority should be one of the first points of contact. On the ‘I need help’ section of the Charter website there is a map which provides 99 links to local authority websites – three for each council area in London.
The map was developed by the London Housing Foundation (LHF) in response to requests from London Councils and Transformation Partners in Health and Care (TPHC – previously Healthy London Partnership). They felt there was a need for quick access to information about local authority housing options services for people experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. The map forms part of the LHF Atlas of London’s Homelessness Services.
While all local authorities have to work to prevent and relieve homelessness (including rough sleeping), the structure of each of the 33 websites of the London authorities is different and the information about provisions can be hard to find. People who may need to access this information include those at risk of rough sleeping, and staff in hospitals or probation services concerned about people they work with who are at risk.
Homeless Link (that delivers the Atlas website) and LHF asked each local authority to provide three links that would be helpful to people at risk of rough sleeping and those working with them. These were identified as:
general information for those at immediate risk of rough sleeping
out-of-hours contact for those at immediate risk of rough sleeping
Duty to Refer instructions (for organisations that want to let the local authority know they think someone is at risk of homelessness – for some organisations, this is a requirement under the Homelessness Reduction Act)
Data was compiled and the map published in May 2023. The map was integrated into the Charter website when it was launched. LHF and Homeless Link check through the links and refresh them every 12 weeks. More information about getting help from a local council can be found on Shelter’s website here.