Our history of helping homeless people
1969: St Mungo's begins with a house run by volunteers in Battersea. This was open to rough sleepers, with a soup run operating from the kitchen. Its founder, a Glaswegian, took the name St Mungo's from the patron saint of his native city, although the organisation is not religious.
1970s: St Mungo's gradually expands, opening large hostels in disused buildings in London and smaller supported houses. Watch Charles Fraser, our Chief Executive, talking about the
1980s: We become the first organisation to introduce planned resettlement by setting up a dedicated team. We launch STEPS (Skills, Training, Employment and Placement Service) as the first comprehensive programme of work and training for homeless people in Britain. We open our first residential care home for frail elderly men, and our first winter shelter, pre-dating government action in this area by two years, and still part of our work today.
1990s: We launch the first Clubhouse in Britain, a work-based project for people with mental health problems; there are now over 30 in the country. For rough sleepers, we open:
- Our first specialist project solely for mentally ill rough sleepers, funded by the Government
- Our first specialist project solely for rough sleepers who drink heavily, one of only two in London
- The first asylum-seekers hostel in Britain
- The only specialist project solely for elderly rough sleepers
- We open the first dedicated move-on unit in London to help crack-using sex workers to move away from the streets, for which we win an Andy Ludlow award for innovation in housing
- In partnership with the Department of Health, we set up the first hostel-based Health Action Zone (HAZ) prescribing service. The service surpasses all its clinical targets in its first six months, successfully engaging, referring and retaining hard to reach drug users. The service wins the Care Trust Award for most Innovative New Service
- Our new Outcomes Star measurement system sets the social housing sector standard for measuring all the stages of client progression
- Our client involvement group - Outside In - starts and our CEO Charles Fraser receives a CBE for services to homeless people in London
- We take on 11 new hostels and housing projects from Novas while upgrading many of our hostels through the Hostel Capital Improvement Programme
- We begin working in HMP Holloway to deliver a nine month pilot scheme to provide community based support to black and minority ethnic women leaving the prison. Our offender services work continues.
- We adopt the Recovery Approach as a new way of working with our clients, which focuses on clients' goals and aspirations, rather than their needs.
2010s to present:
- We start to grow beyond London and open new projects in Bath, Bristol, Reading, Hertfordshire, and Oxfordshire
- We begin managing new services for young people as well as more specialist services for people with substance use issues
- We become a sector leader in PIEs (Psychologically Informed Environments), in Palliative Care services for homeless people and driving change for homeless women.
See our Annual Reviews since 2003-4 and our Campaigns, Innovations and Awards pages.