Contactless donation points allow Londoners to give to homeless charities

Londoners can now use their contactless cards to support homeless people in the city.

A new series of contactless donation points will let Londoners donate money to a group of homelessness charities using their contactless cards or mobile devices.

On Wednesday, 35 of the points set up by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and non-profit TAP London were unveiled in the busiest areas of the capital, and a further 55 are expected in the coming weeks.

TAP London co-founder, Polly Gilbert, said: “Our pockets are getting lighter. Many of us just don’t carry change anymore. So we have to act quickly in creating new ways for people to give to those in need.

“If we each made just one ‘TAP’ to tackle homelessness – we could bring about radical change expanding and sustaining vital services for Londoners in need.”

The £3 donations made at the points will be evenly split between 22 charities that make up the London Homeless Charities group.

The group includes charities based in Kingston and Southwark as well as national organisations including St Mungo’s, Shelter and the YMCA.

According to statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the number of rough sleepers in London has increased year-on-year since 2010 and is nearly three times higher than it was a decade ago.

St Mungo’s chief executive, Howard Sinclair, said: “It’s shocking to think of anyone having to spend the night sleeping rough in 2018.

“Services such as ours are working hard all through the year, but as the weather turns colder, there’s more of a focus for urgent action.”

One of the donation points unveiled on Wednesday was placed in a window at City Hall.

Mr Khan said: “It is our moral duty to do all we can to help people facing homelessness in our city.”

Donations can also be made online on the campaign’s GoFundMe page.

Previous proposals to allow contactless donations to homeless people by using barcodes worn around the neck were heavily criticised by charities due to concerns that those carrying the boxes could face discrimination.

There have been changes to severe weather shelters, which open if the temperature is predicted to drop below zero degrees.

These shelters previously opened on a borough by borough basis, but now will open city-wide this winter to prevent gaps in services.

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