It was a period of bitter weather; low temperatures and prolonged rain, the killer combination for rough sleepers, a time to increase the number of outreach shifts and when the vigilance of the public in spotting isolated rough sleepers and contacting us on their behalf is crucial.
Next, a linked story emerged with a theme of how much better rough sleepers are treated in Vancouver, Canada. In Vancouver, to make it easier for people to sleep rough, an ingenious contraption has been designed which creates a temporary roof over a park bench. An article in the Daily Telegraph urged London to take inspiration from Vancouver. Far from being inspired, the roof-over-the-bench solution left me dispirited. We are adept at finding ways of mitigating the worst aspects of sleeping on the street. Over the years creative people have sent me intricate designs for pop-up tents and pod-like living capsules to make surviving on the street easier. Kind members of the public and corporate supporters regularly offer coats, sleeping bags, mittens and hand-warmers.