Crisis at Christmas has begun welcoming homeless guests to its centres across London.
More than 8,800 volunteers including catering professionals, healthcare specialists and entertainers are giving up their holidays to run services at nine centres around the capital.
Crisis expects to be busier than ever this year with some 3,200 guests expected during the week.
Crisis at Christmas relies entirely on donations of goods and funds from the general public and companies. Amongst the donated items this year are: 17,000 eggs, 9.000 toilet rolls and 22 pallets of fresh vegetables.
On Christmas Day the centres expect to serve lunch to over 2,000 people, with some 110 donated 10 pound turkeys and all the trimmings being served.
During the week Crisis Skylight teams will be talking to guests, encouraging people to take up the charity’s year round training, education and advice services after Crisis at Christmas centres close on 30 December.
Homeless people under 35 are facing a serious housing shortage this Christmas after Government benefit cuts, a charity warned today.
Crisis, which is providing emergency shelter over the festive period, said 62,500 homeless adults aged between 25 and 34 received lower levels of benefit this year after the Government said they could only claim the cost of shared accommodation rather than more expensive individual flats.
Only 1.5% of available properties across the UK were willing to rent to benefit claimants aged under 35 and only 13% were priced within their benefit rates, according to a Crisis survey conducted by its staff who posed as claimants and tried to rent more than 4,000 rooms.
– Leslie Morphy, the charity's chief executive
This snapshot of a typical rental search for a single person builds a picture of desperate shortage, particularly for those restricted to lower housing benefits, and shows that landlords are reluctant to take on benefits claimants.
Thousands of homeless people are being welcomed into the warm for Christmas as the charity Crisis opens the doors of nine shelters across London.
It's a huge operation -- and with the numbers of rough sleepers up by more than 40 per cent in the capital -- volunteers are busier than ever.
Crisis Chief Executive Leslie Morphy says the charity is expecting more than three thousand Londoners through the doors of its centres this Christmas. It will give them food, shelter and medical help at its nine centres which open this evening. More on London Tonight.
Crisis at Christmas volunteers pack up food and drink deliveries to send out to nine centres opening this evening. The charity is predicting its busiest year as homelessness in the capital has risen by 43 per cent in the last 12 months. More on London Tonight.
A volunteer prepares deliveries of potatoes and sprouts for nine Crisis centres opening across the capital this Christmas. More on London Tonight.