The Independent’s Homeless Fund appeal has been celebrated for showing that “by coming together, we can make a change” as it was announced that £900,000 has so far been raised for homeless causes.
As the first phase of our fundraising ended, campaigners, activists and those who have themselves slept rough hailed its focus on the issues and potential solutions to the homelessness crisis affecting London.
Ellie Buckley, of Centrepoint, said: “It has been incredible, bringing some of the city’s leaders together to tackle homelessness and help support as many homeless people as possible.”
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Tim Sigsworth, chief executive of the Albert Kennedy Trust, said: “I’m really proud that we’ve been part of this campaign.”
The Homeless Fund was launched by The Independent and The Evening Standard on 20 November in collaboration with the London Homeless Collective, a coalition of 23 frontline charities.
The money raised will help set up London’s first 24-hour drop-in women’s centre at the Marylebone Project, to ensure all homeless women have a safe space to turn to.
Evgeny Lebedev, the proprietor of the titles, said: “I am always amazed by the generosity of Londoners to help those in need and we have witnessed again how they are willing to give to help the most vulnerable in our capital.
"The donations to our Homeless Fund will make a real difference to those at risk of having to sleep on our city’s streets. We simply could not have done this without the support of you, our readers.
“What has been amazing in this campaign has been the willingness of different people and charities to come together behind our Christmas drive to support homeless women. Now we need to build on the success. This is only the beginning.”
The focus on homelessness is a two-year commitment to seek to address the present crisis in the capital.
Now the initial Christmas fundraising appeal is over, a series of further initiatives will be launched on the issue through the year.
Through work with fundraising initiatives such as The World’s Big Sleep Out: London, this Christmas the titles' homeless appeal raised a total of £870,452 for tackling homelessness in the capital.
The World’s Big Sleep Out saw nearly 2,000 Londoners swap their warm beds for a night of rough sleeping in the rain in December.
The event, combined with money it raised through activities such as private sleep outs organised by supporters in their homes, raised a total of £836,859.
Half that total will go to London charities, including Depaul, The Big Issue Foundation, Thames Reach and Homeless Link.
The other half will go to international organisations including Unicef USA, Malala Fund and the Institute of Global Homelessness, in a drive to help a million displaced people across the world.
Those who supported our Homeless Fund include YPO, the global leadership community, which provided a cash donation at its London joint chapters’ annual Christmas dinner.
Sacha Zackariya, of The Change Group International plc and YPO Greater London’s board member for Learning, said: “At a time when rough sleeping is so visible, there is a responsibility to fight homelessness. Business must play a central role.”
Globally, YPO has a network of 28,000 chief executives of large companies in more than 130 countries with a combined total of over $9 trillion in earnings.
It was founded in the Fifties and works to enable company leaders to exchange ideas and work together productively. Executive Change Group also supported our campaign.
Led by Craig Redbond, the group convenes boards of directors for nascent tech companies, while also lobbying directors to give to charitable causes.
Law firm Hogan Lovells provided free legal expertise to the London Homeless Collective.
Yasmin Waljee, its international pro bono director, said: “Homelessness is never very far: it just takes perhaps a combination of poor health, an unemployment and the loss of a wider-family support to see how it might affect us.
“It’s important we play our part of business volunteers.”
Charity consultants New Philanthropy Capital are monitoring progress to ensure the campaign has a lasting impact.
Katie Boswell, associate director, said: “By working with existing networks of charities the Evening Standard’s campaign has the best chance of making a dent in the crisis on our streets.”
The World's Big Sleep Out in Trafalgar Square - In pictures
This year’s Christmas campaign is for The Homeless Fund, which will finance desperately needed services. The campaign will highlight the worst instances of homelessness globally, with money raised going to help homeless projects in London. Click here to donate.