Food Donations Needed

April 14, 2020

Dear friends in the Lewisham area,

During this difficult period, we have been supporting our most vulnerable clients with food parcels and deliveries. As a small charity, this is becoming more difficult to afford.

If you could donate food, we would be so grateful. Please contact us on 020 8694 7740 or if you think you can help. Many thanks. 

Coronavirus: Homelessness and Benefits Advice

March 24, 2020

Bench Outreach is now able to provide advice on benefits and housing during the coronavirus outbreak. Please visit our coronavirus advice page for further information.

Meanwhile, please comply with recent NHS advice.

Stay at home whenever possible unless:

- shopping for basic essentials, only when you really need to

- doing one form of exercise per day

- for medical needs e.g. going to a pharmacy or to deliver supplies to a vulnerable person

- travelling to and from work, only when totally necessary

Universal Credit roll-out delayed again

February 04, 2020

Once again, the new benefits system, Universal Credit, has been delayed. The nation-wide roll-out will now not take place until 2024. This is very frustrating for claimants trying to navigate an already very complex system. Bench Outreach will continue to support clients who face difficulties as they move onto Universal Credit.

Read more here on the BBC website.

Multiple Disadvantage Day

July 02, 2019

Wednesday 3rd July is Multiple Disadvantage Day. This was set up to raise awareness of people who face a combination of different difficulties at once- homelessness, addiction, mental illness and/or re-offending.

This is a really important topic, and at Bench we find that most clients don't just need support with their housing, but experience some of the other disadvantages too. This Multiple Disadvantage Day we think about how we can work together with different services to provide better, more well-rounded support to those with multiple disadvantages.

You can find out more on the Multiple Disadvantage Day website.

Homeless Deaths Linked to Local Funding Cuts

June 23, 2019

The councils hit hardest by local government funding cuts have been found to have higher numbers of homeless deaths.

According to a recent analysis by the Labour Party, 9 out of the 10 councils with the most funding cuts have the highest levels of homeless mortality. The councils in question include Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Blackburn, Liverpool and the four London boroughs: Camden, Westminster, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets. 

This upsetting news emphasises the need for more support for local governments, who are visibly struggling with the harsh cuts to their services. Here at Bench Outreach we see the limits of local government funding every day as vulnerable people are turned away due to the lack of resources. 

You can read more about the findings of the analysis here:

Single Mother's 'intentionally homeless' ruling overturned

June 17, 2019

A single mother in Birmingham City Council, previously deemed 'intentionally homeless', has been reassessed and the decision turned around.

Terryann Samuels had been told that, due to not paying her rent, she was 'intentionally homeless' and therefore not eligible for help with housing for her and her children. She had been evicted due to rent arrears as her Housing Benefit did not cover her rent; her other benefits were intended purely to cover essentials to keep her family going, not to cover extra rent costs. 


Organisations CPAG and Shelter both intervened in the case, arguing that other benefits should not be used to cover extra housing costs, and that Ms Samuels' children should never have to go without the bare essentials to be able to pay for rent. In a brilliant result, the Supreme Court ruled that Ms Samuels was not 'intentionally homeless.'

Unfortunately, the issue of so-called 'intentional homelessness' causes many problems; those living in inappropriate or uninhabitable properties are often deemed not eligible for housing support if they deliberately leave the tenancy without being evicted, even if they then become street homeless. 

Although the outcome of the court case isn't fully set out yet, the recognition that tenants should not have to spend the money intended for basic living costs on rent just to avoid homelessness is reassuring and encouraging. 

The government plans to abolish Section 21 evictions

June 03, 2019

The government has announced plans to scrap so-called 'no-fault' evictions. This will prevent landlords from evicting tenants at short notice without good reason, protecting tenants from instability.


Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, who announced the plans, said 

'By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them. And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.'

We hope these changes make a difference to protect vulnerable tenants from unfair eviction.

You can find out more information at

The Lewisham Services Directory is an easy-to-use booklet with contact details of organisations, mainly in the London Borough of Lewisham, who help people with housing, homelessness, debt, mental and physical health, drug and alcohol use and legal issues. It is compiled by Elly Goldsmith and is now in its fourth edition.


Click on the title or go to the Resources page to download.

Learn more about Housing First. Click on the title to see a short film by Homeless Link featuring some of the work we do here at Bench Outreach.

AQS Certification

September 26, 2017











​We are proud to announce that Bench Outreach has been awarded the Advice Quality Standard in Welfare Benefits and Housing.

December 13, 2017

Click on the title to support John Ford as he trains for the 2018 London Marathon, running in aid of Bench Outreach.


Follow him on Facebook for updates by clicking on the photo.



Housing First Evaluation

February 07, 2018

To read an independent evaluation of our Housing First service, click on the link below. 

April 25, 2018

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Rough Sleeping

Are you rough sleeping or concerned about a rough sleeper?

Ring Street Link on 0300 500 0914 or visit

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Would you consider supporting us regularly? To do so please download this standing order form and send it to us (the address is on the form).
Thank you.

© 2016 Bench Outreach

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