More than 250 volunteers have signed up to find out more about who's sleeping rough in Westminster - and are meeting those people this week (10-17 July). Westminster Homeless Action Together (#WHATJuly16) is part of a European End Street Homelessness campaign, following similar community action weeks in Barcelona and Valencia.
Westminster, London has more people sleeping rough than any borough in the UK. A total of 2,570 people slept rough there during 2014-15, with around 300 people contacted by outreach teams during March this year.
Now a group of charities, supported by Westminster City Council, has organised Westminster Homeless Action Together (WHAT). More than 250 volunteers have gone out on the streets, spoken to people sleeping rough and completed surveys with them, which will inform future plans and solutions to end street homelessness.
WHAT aims to raise the profile and increase understanding of the challenges of a growing problem, not only in London but across Europe; take a fresh look through different eyes and tap into new thinking and resources e.g. housing, energy and ongoing commitment to volunteering, and more innovative and creative thinking about scalable solutions for migrants; identify gaps in service provision and solutions to these.