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Shelter estimates 1 in 99 people homeless in Islington - as community urged to donate to Christmas 'catalyst fund'

PUBLISHED: 14:58 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:51 19 December 2019

Stock image of rough sleeper. Picture: Nick Ansell/ PA Images

Stock image of rough sleeper. Picture: Nick Ansell/ PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

A charity this week estimated one in 99 people in Islington are homeless - and readers can now donate to a Christmas "catalyst" fund to help.

A homeless person and their dog shelter in a doorway in separate sleeping bags, in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA ImagesA homeless person and their dog shelter in a doorway in separate sleeping bags, in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

The town hall's street homelessness team is working with Islington Giving to offer small grants to people on the streets or those with a recent history of rough sleeping.

The Homeless Catalyst Fund will help people in Islington reconnect with their families, gain qualifications, plus get jobs and warm clothes.

The three-month pilot allows people to support vulnerable people in the borough directly, though the outreach team will handle payments to ensure cash goes to its intended use.

It comes as new data from Shelter shows Islington has the 28th highest rate of homelessness in England.

Isilngton's street pupulation coordinator Sarah Turley. Picture: Sarah TurleyIsilngton's street pupulation coordinator Sarah Turley. Picture: Sarah Turley

It estimates 2,416 people in the borough (or one in 99) are homeless. This is made up of an estimated 1,384 people living in temporary accommodation arranged by the council and 989 in other temporary accommodation, as of March.

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It also includes the 43 rough sleepers at Islington's annual street count last year. But the most recent figures from borough-wide held earlier this month recorded 51 people rough sleeping.

Islington's street population coordinator Sarah Turley told the Gazette: "The numbers are going up and we're seeing more people on outreach. It's a perfect storm, in London particularly [where Shelter estimates 170,068 are homeless]. We're in a housing crisis, we've had welfare reform and a lot of people can't afford to rent privately. We are seeing more people who have lost their jobs, cuts to mental health and drugs services. I think there's a direct link between austerity and people becoming homeless."

The fund will provide grants of up to £500. Donation will go towards people's travel fares so they can make appointments and reconnect with family or support networks.

It could also help them get CSCS qualifications so they can work in construction or acquire a passports to help get a job.

Sarah added: "More and more people are approaching us wanting to help, so I think this is a really tangible way to do that. Not everybody has the time to volunteer, this is another alternative."

Islington Giving, run by the Cripplegate Foundation, awards grants to voluntary organisations providing support and activities to people in the borough.

The pilot fund is running until March 30. Donate here.

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