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During the COVID-19 health crisis, CR ZERO 2020 partners provided support to rough sleepers with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). As a result, 40 rough sleepers with NRPF are now accommodated, a four-fold increase to before the pandemic. Find out about the full emergency response from Croydon and other campaign cities in our latest report: Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Joined the campaign: July 2016

Who’s involved? The Croydon campaign – CR Zero 2020 – is a partnership of agencies including Evolve Housing and SupportCrisisExpert LinkCroydon Business Improvement District (BID) and Thames Reach, and is endorsed by Croydon Council.

What has happened so far? Their first Connections Week in August 2016 engaged 90 volunteers, finding 64 people on the street with 42 surveys completed. They found that almost two in every three (60%) people had been without stable accommodation for longer than six months and over half (53%) had been attacked whilst sleeping on the street. Evidence from the surveys showed that there were not enough appropriate accommodation options for the number of people with severe and complex needs on the streets of Croydon.

An event delivered as part of the campaign following the first Connections Week was attended by the Mayor, cross-party local MPs, the Deputy Council Leader, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the United Kingdom Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP. The Minister used this opportunity to give his first speech on the government’s approach to homelessness.

Following on from their Connections Week in 2016 Croydon developed a Solutions Group involving members of the local community. The group is split into five different Task and Finish groups working towards different goals: Policy and Influence, Housing First, Health, Housing Access and working with Croydon Council.

Volunteers at their second Connections Week in August 2017 interviewed 102 people sleeping on the street. Around three in every five (59%) people said that they were not doing any activity which made them happy and fulfilled. Croydon’s survey included the question, ‘What are your aspirations for the future?’. Answers included: ‘Run my own stables’; ‘Help Others’; and ‘Have a Bath, watch a good film’.

After Croydon Council received £500,000 investment from the government, Housing First within Croydon was introduced by a partnership between stakeholders from within the CR Zero 2020 campaign – London Borough of Croydon, Thames Reach and Optivo, UK. By the end of 2018, the project had five units fully occupied with more people being housed, and by 2020 the project aims for this to rise to 20 units.

Funding from the UK Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative was used to target mental health support to residents within Housing First. The work of Evolve Housing and Support and partners in the CR Zero 2020 campaign also led to a commendation in the 2017 London Homelessness Awards.

What’s next? CR Zero 2020 remains committed to ending chronic rough sleeping in the Borough by the end of 2020 and has a clear workplan from their Solutions Group work. This includes continuing to expand the Housing First programme to 20 units by the end of 2020, working with hostels to ensure that couples are accepted, reviewing drugs and alcohol policies across multiple services, developing peer-led training around LGBTQ+ issues, and increasing mental health services for those on the streets.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #CRZero2020.


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