Ark Aid Street Mission Reinforces Commitment Amid London’s Homelessness Crisis


For the entirety of this summer, Ark Aid Street Mission, under the supervision of Executive Director Sarah Campbell, has tirelessly met a thousand basic needs on a daily basis, with operations running seven days a week. Despite being enlisted in the city’s Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the organization resolved against submitting a bid for the operation of one of the initial low-barrier service hubs anticipated to open in December. These hubs form a part of London’s comprehensive strategy, the Whole of Community Response to Homelessness, aimed at combating the city’s rising homelessness crisis.

Even after abstaining from the bidding process, Campbell continues to envision a significant role for Ark Aid, expressing openness to contribute only if the engagement would be in collaboration with other groups. Such an opportunity would allow them to reallocate a portion of their resources dedicated to addressing basic needs.

London’s City Hall has recognized a distressing figure of about 2,000 individuals enduring homelessness. Among them, 600 are identified as high-needs individuals. The upcoming service hubs have been designed with the clear intention of targeting this vulnerable demographic. The community will continue to perceive pressing requirements for more shelter spaces, meals, and other forms of support.

London’s Whole of Community Response aims to initiate systematic change by creating 600 transitional housing units, 100 of which are scheduled to be introduced this year. Additionally, as many as 15 low-barrier service hubs are expected to be unveiled, with 3-5 opening their doors in December. The proposed strategy lays focus on carving fresh avenues for these individuals to secure permanent housing, while established shelters and service providers would continue their essential services.

Maintaining this dual focus is not an easy process, emphasizes Campbell, asserting that it becomes crucial to sustain what we currently have as we work towards developing the new system. Ark Aid Street Mission, along with the other existing shelters, will offer committed support to the agencies selected for operating the hubs, championing the innovative, collective model of support that denotes the Whole of Community Response.

Four agencies that submitted bids for operating one or two hubs include:

London Health Sciences Centre CMHA Thames Valley- Addiction and Mental Health Services Atlohsa Family Healing Services Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Anticipate the public unveiling of the proposed addresses for these highly-awaited service hubs within the next two weeks. Following this, the committee will examine the bids at the meeting scheduled for September 25.


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