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Project helps 3,000 rough sleepers into housing

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Project helps 3,000 rough sleepers into housing

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

East London homeless charity launches £9.3 million fund to develop 25 'move-on' studio flats East London homeless charity launches £9.3 million fund to develop 25 'move-on' studio flats

A project has helped almost 3,000 of London's rough sleepers into accommodation.

The latest figures show that the No Second Night Out (NSNO) project has helped 2,823 people of the streets and into housing.

Since NSNO - which is funded by the Mayor of London and delivered by the charity Broadway Homelessness and Support - was launched in April 2011, 80% of all new rough sleepers have not spent a second night out on the capital's streets.

As the scheme prepares to help more people over the winter months, one former rough sleeper, 49-year-old old Colin Rosie, who was helped off the streets nearly a year ago today, has turned his life around and is now running his own business stall in a popular market.

Colin was sleeping rough in Victoria for four months when a street outreach team referred him to NSNO. Staff there assessed him to find his best housing option before he was housed temporarily in Walthamstow YMCA and then in his own flat in the area.

While he had been on the streets, the former freelance photographer had been using a top hat and overcoat to gain entry into some of London’s most prestigious hotels, using their bathroom facilities to wash and shave.

Thanks to this initial support from NSNO, Colin has begun to rebuild his life and now sells tops hats from his own stall in Spitalfields Market, called Last Stop for the Curious.

Colin said: "When I started sleeping rough, I’d gone from travelling the world as a freelance photographer to having just 56p in my pocket. I owned only a holdall containing an overcoat, some trousers, a pair of shoes and my top hat.

"I was walking the streets at night and sleeping in Victoria or in a park during the day. Then, when I needed to wash and change, I would put on my overcoat and hat and get into all of these fancy hotels. Just because I was homeless, I was adamant I didn’t want to look like I was homeless.

“When NSNO offered me support I was delighted. They helped me take that first step and without them I wouldn't be here today. It took just one organisation to say 'how can we help you?' for me to progress from the streets and for that I want to thank them.”

Petra Salva, director of NSNO, said: “No Second Night Out is an invaluable lifeline for people who are new to rough sleeping in London.

“Colin’s story is testimony to the fact that rough sleeping can happen to anyone but also that people who have been rough sleeping can go on to have great success.

“We ask that if anyone sees a rough sleeper they get in touch and let services know that someone needs help."

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