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Fact File and News

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More people sleep rough in Central London than in any other part of the capital. This is consistently the case, but the proportion of people sleeping rough who do so in Central London has fallen from over two thirds in 2011/12 to less than half in 2021/22. This has been primarily driven by a rise in rough sleeping in East London.

In 2023, 2,931 people chose to use our advice and counselling services in the hope that we could resolve problems, reunite individuals with family members, or teach them the basic skill necessary to leave the streets at take up some form of accommodation, or even find employment.

A common factor being that they lacked the loving environment of childhood and many denied the life skills needed to grow from childhood into adulthood. Not able to control their aggression or anger. Not knowing how to communicate by telephone or in person. Not knowing how to resolve problems and difficulties.

A simple fact. Too many of our children in care are unprepared for the adult world and struggle to fit in

Numbers that are regularly questioned and even challenged. Our experience suggests that there are far more people on the streets with a history of military service than is immediately obvious. These young men, appear to fall into to two categories.

Young men who didn't do as well at school as they had hoped and discovered many doors closed to them upon leaving school. One door that remains open and welcoming is that of the army and many sign up to serve this country, only to discover that upon their demob a few years later, the same doors as still closed.

Young men who chose to join the army, as opposed to an alternative career, to be damaged by their experience within the armed forces. Their experiences in armed conflict causing deep rooted problems that can take years to rise to the surface.

A high percentage were in the care system before joining the army.

We are not suggesting that 15% of London's homeless are ex-servicemen, but rather 15% of users of the Whitechapel Mission are. This can be explained by the particular service provision of the Whitechapel Mission.

We have witnessed a reduction in the numbers of ex-service men in recent years and can report numbers far lower than just 3 years ago.

The Whitechapel Mission is open 365 days a year are would expect to see between 250 and 300 people on a normal weekday. We are open to ALL, without exception.

We do not keep records of ethnicity, origin or race. We will do everything we can for everybody coming to our door.

There are many theories as to why the majority of the homeless are men, but there are some contributing factors that may have some bearing.

Men are given lower priority when it comes to social housing. Of course couples with young children should be given higher priority, but single homeless men are definitely given the lowest priority.

Men are more likely to leave the family home when there is a break-up. Women staying in the family home with the children.

Within our society men are expected to be strong and be the protectors, causing them to bottle up and hide emotional distress. For it to appear years later in a damaging form.

There is a natural need for society to help or assist a woman in distress.

We live in a society of consequence. It we chose to break the law, there will be consequences. We are likely to be looking at a prison sentence, the loss of our job, the possible loss of our house and possible loss of our freedom. Consequences that most of us would rather avoid.

But if living on the streets these are not consequences at all, possibly even benefits. With no house to lose. No job to worry about and the prospect of three cooked meals a day, a warm bed to sleep in, there are some that will risk the consequences of stealing a "loaf of bread".

Our Impact in 2023

  • Over 3,013 volunteers, offering over 28,078 hours of their time.

  • New figures reveal that 8,329 people were found sleeping rough on any given night in London last year.

  • 26% of rough sleepers have been on the streets for 2 years or more.

  • 129,752 breakfasts served during this year, an average of 355 a day.

  • 9,157 different people used our services during this year.

  • 2,931 people used our advice services during the past year. 917 were women.

  • 44% of people using our services are under 26 years of age.

  • 26 people use the Whitechapel Mission's address to receive their post.

  • 43 people were helped to find employment

  • 51 were referred to drug or alcohol programmes.

  • 594 people received help in claiming benefits.

  • 32% of people using our services have been in care at some point.

  • 15% of people supported by the Whitechapel Mission have been in the armed services.

  • 38 people found permanent accommodation, either a flat or apartment. 712 people found a hostel during this year.

  • 17 birth certificates purchased during this year.

  • 159 people came to us without any form of ID at all.

  • 21,564 showers during this year.

  • 43% of people using our services have been in prison.