​Life-saving shelter, supported by Allchurches Trust, provided for 643 individuals during one of the toughest winters on record

Glass Door, a homelessness and social action charity based in London, has published a report stating it provided 643 people with life-saving shelter during one of the coldest winters in recent history.

Between November 2017 and April 2018, 526 men and 117 women attended emergency winter night shelters located in churches across Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Richmond. In all, 29 churches opened their doors throughout these four boroughs to provide emergency shelter for individuals who had nowhere else to sleep. Seven churches in Richmond joined the network in January 2018 as part of a pilot project that was supported by Allchurches Trust.

According to the report, the number of people that benefited from the night shelters this winter increased by 53% compared to last winter. The average guest stayed for four weeks, and over the past year Glass Door’s growing team of caseworkers advised more than 1194 individuals – helping at least 180 guests find housing and 79 to find jobs.

Allchurches Trust helped Glass Door with its mission to help rough sleepers by supporting it with funds to create the Richmond night shelter pilot project. Seven churches in the area each hosted the shelter for one night a week, helped by a total of 269 volunteers drawn from the churches’ congregations and local community. A partnership was formed with Vineyard Community Centre in Richmond where guests had somewhere safe to go during daytime hours. They also benefitted from showers, fresh clothing, meals and access to the internet.

Joe, 22, was a guest of the Richmond night shelter during the winter of 2018. After being told by his local council that he wasn’t eligible for support, Joe turned to the Vineyard Community Centre where he met Glass Door caseworker Lewis who helped him secure a space at the shelter. Lewis also arranged for legal support, which led to Joe finding more secure accommodation through the council. Joe said:

“I think whatever situation people find themselves in – how unpleasant or dark – it’s always resolvable. I think I can start being something more than just surviving once I’m not homeless and be everything that I want to be.”

The Richmond night shelter project which was originally run on a trial basis, is now being turned into a permanent part of the Glass Door emergency shelter network for 2018/2019. Along with the three other shelter networks, Glass Door aims to house 130 people a night between November and April this coming winter.


JoeJoe, Richmond night shelter guest