At St Mungo's we work to end homelessness and help people rebuild their lives. Across London and the south of England, we provide outreach support and accommodation where people can find the help they need to begin to build their futures in a positive way. We know that there is life after rough sleeping. We see every day that people can - and do - recover and move on from homelessness.
I am practically seconds away from putting up a tree. However it has actually taken a while for me to get back into the idea of Christmas since my father died and I am totally empathetic to anyone that has lost someone and is facing the daunting prospect of a nostalgic Christmas ahead. My dad used to enjoy this season so much that it is literally impossible not to think about and miss him.
When I speak to people who have been homeless about their experience of seeking help from their local council, they often describe feelings of utter frustration and despair. Too many people are not being served by the current legal framework which requires councils to offer accommodation to homeless households, but only in limited circumstances.
TOTM is a campaign we have set up which intends to raise donations of sanitary products, baby wipes and clean underwear for women facing homelessness in and around Manchester City Centre. Lack of access to sanitary products might only be a small part of the daily challenges that homeless women face but I don't think we can underestimate the value of allowing women to maintain their comfort and dignity.
Today the Capital's streets are in crisis - the number of under-25s sleeping rough in one of the richest cities in the world has more than doubled since the last mayoral election. Whoever succeeds Boris Johnson in May won't just have the platform to express concern and talk about change, they'll have the power, the public support, and a multi-million pound budget to work with London's boroughs to make homelessness and rough sleeping a thing of the past. But how should they do it and where should they start?