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London homelessness charity boosted by Westminster Abbey’s £½-million donation

20 May 2024

Westminster Abbey

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, helps out at the Passage resource centre, last week

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, helps out at the Passage resource centre, last week

WESTMINSTER ABBEY has donated £500,000 to The Passage, a homelessness charity near by, to support its emergency accommodation scheme, No Night Out.

The Abbey said that the funding, which will support the scheme for two years, had been possible because of a recovery in visitor numbers since the pandemic.

The Passage has been supporting people at risk of homelessness in London for 40 years. Its resource centre in Victoria has helped more than 2100 people, serving more than 34,500 hot meals, and giving advice on securing employment, benefits, and secure accommodation.

The No Night Out scheme was created after the Covid-19 lockdowns, when the charity helped to move people into emergency accommodation during the Government’s “Everyone In” initiative. The Passage continues to offer temporary accommodation for people at risk of spending a night on the streets while longer-term housing is found.

Since it launched in 2022, the scheme has helped prevent 196 people from rough sleeping, the charity says. Of that number, 13 people needed further intervention to stay in accommodation, five of whom remain homeless.

The latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) report from the Greater London Authority, published last month, states that 4118 people slept rough in London between January and March 2024.

The Passage said that the donation had therefore come at a “crucial time”.

On a visit to its resource centre last week, where staff from the Abbey volunteer regularly, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, said: “It is a privilege to be able to support the focused and dedicated work that is done by The Passage. Homelessness plunges too many people into crisis and anxiety too often. Here is a project that will make the difference that is needed.”

The chief executive, Mick Clarke, said that the charity was “immensely grateful” for the donation. “In 21st century Britain, nobody should ever have to spend a night on the streets.

“At a time when the number of people who are becoming street homeless is continuing to rise in all parts of the UK, and most acutely here in the capital, our partnership with the Abbey and their support for our ground-breaking No Night Out scheme will help The Passage to give hope to those who thought all hope was lost.”

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