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Weather-triggered ads encourage Londoners to help the homeless

The City of London is using weather data to trigger digital ads which highlight the plight of rough sleepers during severe winter weather.

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Advertising company Clear Channel has donated over 130 digital billboards across London for the campaign. The giant screens will be triggered by weather data from the Met Office to display the temperature when it drops to zero or below.

 

Severe weather shelters are open in London whenever the weather is freezing. The adverts will encourage Londoners to let the StreetLink charity know about people on the street they are concerned about so that outreach teams can help. Citizens can do this via the app, website or phoneline.

 

The giant screens will be triggered by weather data from the Met Office to display the temperature when it drops to zero or below.

 

There have already been a record 9,165 referrals made to StreetLink since the campaign began - 600 more than were made over the whole of last winter, when the Mayor first began promoting Streetlink to Londoners.

 

The billboards will be complemented by radio adverts, also activated when the temperature is due to fall to zero. The radio advert features a former rough sleeper reading the evening’s weather forecast and recounting his life on the streets.

 

Contactless donations

 

The initiative is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s campaign to tackle homelessness.

 

78 TAP points, which allow Londoners to donate £3 by using their contactless debit cards, have been rolled out across the capital.

 

The campaign, launched at the end of November, has already raised more than £200,000 for the London Homeless Charities Group, a coalition of charities working to tackle rough sleeping. This includes £42,000 raised via new TAP London contactless donation points. A total of 78 TAP points, which allow Londoners to donate £3 by using their contactless debit cards, have been rolled out across the capital.

 

A "national disgrace"

 

Sadiq Khan said: “It is a national disgrace that so many people are being forced to sleep rough, and we know that compassionate Londoners want to help in any way they can. These innovative billboards gifted by Clear Channel will help to raise awareness of how to help rough sleepers during the freezing weather.

 

“But while City Hall’s expanded services are now helping more rough sleepers than ever before, many more continue to be forced onto the streets. Unless government ministers address the causes of rough sleeping and homelessness, including their cuts to welfare and services for vulnerable people, we will never succeed in our mission to end homelessness.

 

“I urge Londoners to keep donating, either via the GoFundMe page or the TAP London points, and to refer any rough sleepers they are concerned about to StreetLink so they can get the support they need to leave the streets for good.”

 

According to the Shelter charity, 320,000 people in Britain are homeless. London has the highest levels of homelessness, at almost 170,000 people.

 

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