Crisis charity’s emergency Christmas shelter fails fire safety check

The Crisis charity for London’s homeless is looking for a building in east London to run a Christmas shelter after one of its temporary emergency centres failed a fire safety check.

The building would shelter 150 men and women and become one of 10 temporary Crisis centres providing warmth, companionship and vital services to 3,000 homeless and vulnerably-housed people.

“We have been forced to abandon one of our centres due to fire safety concerns,” said the charity’s head Ian Richards. “This has left us 150 beds short with less than two weeks until we open our doors.”

He warned: “Some homeless people might have to face Christmas on the streets if we don’t find something quickly.”

The centres are being run by 8,000 volunteers from December 23 to 30 who are giving up their own Christmas to help the homeless.

The number of rough sleepers has risen sharply in London in the past 12 months, the charity points out. Nearly 5,700 people are estimated to have been on the streets at some point in the past year, a rise of 43 per cent on the previous year.