New Kingston homeless shelter provides morning access for rough sleepers

This article was originally published in South West Londoner on 16th January 2020.

Kingston Churches Action Against Homelessness (KCAH) morning shelter opened this week.

The aim of the shelter, which launched on January 14, is to provide a place to go in the time between the closure of night shelters and the opening of other daytime services.

As an open access shelter, it has no curfew and people can come and go as they please so long as they give their name on arrival.

KCAH night shelter coordinator Sophie Mayor said: “Kingston has done very well with open access. We’re one of the few open access shelters in the country.”

“We will try to find out a bit of information upon entry, where you’re from, whether you’ve got any temporary accommodation. 

“We wouldn’t turn away anyone based on their answers to these questions.”

She added: “We’ve been successful in targeting very vulnerable people – the engagement from the most marginalised in the community has skyrocketed.”

The shelter has links to drug and alcohol services for people who wish to seek support.

KCAH also provide a housing advice service every weekday morning, issuing food bank vouchers, emergency clothes and emergency food.

The organisation has 14 properties available for use as temporary accommodation.

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows Kingston has the second highest rate of rough sleeping in south west London.

Lambeth has the highest rate of rough sleeping, while Sutton and Croydon have the lowest.

Ms Mayor added: “There’s always more to be done in Kingston and across the country. The situation is very bad nationally.

“We need collaborative working between councils, statutory services and other homeless centres in the borough.”

Featured image: Flickr

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