Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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The countdown continues

More than half of London‘s "entrenched homeless" helped into housing, claims Homeless Link More than half of London's "entrenched homeless" have been helped into housing as the clean-up before the Olympics continues, according to Homeless Link. Working with the umbrella homeless organisation, the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, set up the London Delivery Board with a pledge to end rough sleeping before the 2012 Olympics, and they seem to be delivering on his promise. Recently published figures suggest out of the identified core of 205 "entrenched rough sleepers", 32 had found long-term accommodation, 75 had short-term shelter and two were in detox or rehab. Whilst 15 people were unaccounted for, only 67 were still sleeping rough. Paul Anderson, head of London at Homeless Link, said: "It's a pretty amazing achievement. Local services and the London Delivery Board seem committed to making this happen. "To pull the plug on funding now would be counterintuitive. It is better to spend money on services that really work than just spend money. I think there is real commitment." So far, only seven people have been 'reconnected' outside London and just two have been deported, suggesting that in contrast with clean-up of other Olympic cities (where the homeless were bought pre-games train tickets out of town), alternative solutions are being sought Tackling homelessness was a priority for mayoral candidates from all three main parties during the election, making for broad support for plans now. It is, perhaps, this as well as the upcoming Olympics that's providing the political momentum now where it was missing before, suggested Anderson. Although it may not have acted widely on those terms yet, the LDB has endorsed the tough love policies of eight charities involved, sanctioning deporting and sectioning those who refuse to leave the streets. Jeremy Swain, chief executive of homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: "Where we think someone is unwell we will try to get them to voluntarily go to a hostel but ultimately we can have them sectioned. This happened in north London recently with someone who had been rough sleeping for a number of years. If there is a foreign national with a criminal history, they will be deported." St Mungo's highlighted the need for mental health services for the homeless but have, like other homeless charities, been very positive about the work being done. Despite all this, people still wait 14 years for council housing in some boroughs and with 353,130 homeless families remaining homeless in inner London, according to the latest figures, the problem is not going away, even if the more visible side is being tackled.