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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Contactless 'giving' points launched to help 8,000 sleeping rough on London's streets

Written by Lizzie Roberts

Members of the public will be able to use their contactless payment cards to donate £3 to help tackle the "shameful" fact that almost 8,000 people are sleeping rough on London's streets this winter, the city's mayor said.

More than 90 contactless points will be placed in cafes, cinemas, bars and hotels across London, allowing users to tap their contactless card or mobile device to donate £3, Sadiq Khan said on Wednesday.

The donations will be put into a collective pot and split between 22 homeless charities which are part of the London Homeless Charities Group.

"It's making it easy for generous Londoners to give to charities who are helping rough sleepers," Mr Khan said.

"I think it's shameful in one of the richest cities in the world we've got almost 8,000 people sleeping rough.

"The reality in 2018 is that many of us don't carry cash around, so if we can make it easier for generous Londoners to give by tap-and-go, we should do so."

The contactless points were created by non-profit company TAP London, and the technology was developed by GoodBox, a UK technology startup. The points were launched in 35 locations in London on Wednesday, with more than 90 expected to go live throughout the city this winter.

Testing a new point outside City Hall, Mr Khan said: "That was easy, wasn't it?"

The London mayor also said he will be more than doubling the number of street outreach teams from 10 teams to 27 this winter, and severe weather emergency shelters in all London boroughs will open their doors to homeless people whenever the temperature is predicted to drop below zero, following confusion last year.

"This year if it's the case that it is predicted the temperature will approach zero, all the severe weather emergency shelters will open up across London, which is really important to give rough sleepers that option," he said.

The contactless payments were initially trialled using "boxes" around the necks of homeless people, but these were scrapped amid fears those carrying the boxes could be stigmatised, with Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the homeless charity Crisis saying: "It's dangerous enough to be rough sleeping as it is."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Philip Toscano / PA Wire.