Rough sleeping in London continues to rise

  • A publication by London’s yearly rough sleeping statistics shows that the number of rough sleepers in the city is rising.

    A report has found that over the past year the number of rough sleepers has increased by 16%, with a 40% rise from 2011/12, reports 24dash. houserise.jpg

    A total of 7,581 people slept rough during 2014-15 according to the CHAIN Greater London report 2014-15. This report presents information about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

    Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo's Broadway, said: "The rise in the number of people seen sleeping rough is deeply concerning. This is a problem affecting many different groups. The number of people from the UK seen sleeping rough in 2014-15 increased by nine per cent to 3,212 people, but it is also clear that new groups of people are ending up on our capital's streets who have very different stories and reasons for being there, with migration from Romania being a significant driver in these most recent figures. We should be careful not to jump to conclusions on short term trends, but we do know that traditional routes off the streets are often not available or appropriate for these groups. We believe that people living on the streets following migration is an issue which requires a joined-up policy approach from the UK government and the European Union as much as from local government. We will be raising this at a European homelessness conference in Paris this weekend. "Our outreach teams, along with others, continue to offer personalised support to help people as quickly as possible, particularly the most vulnerable, including reconnecting someone back with their home area in the UK or in Europe. The No Second Night Out hubs, commissioned by the GLA, are an important part of this approach. Last year 34 per cent of new rough sleepers attended No Second Night Out (NSNO) and 1,493 (86 per cent) of these people were not seen rough sleeping again in the year. These figures, however, demand scrutiny beyond the stark headline numbers. Worryingly, they show that the number of people who've previously slept rough and are returning to the streets is rising, this year by 20 per cent. We need to ask what more can be done for these people, what gaps need to be filled to prevent repeat homelessness. In addition more must be done when people first seek help with a housing crisis. The recent Supreme Court ruling means that councils must improve their response to homeless vulnerable people and we hope this will reduce the number of people who are forced to sleep rough before they get the help they need. As the GLA's rough sleeping protocol says, the overriding aim of outreach services should always be to help rough sleepers move off the streets as quickly as possible and avoid returning there, because sleeping rough is harmful, dangerous and therefore unacceptable.”

    Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England, said: “It should be unimaginable that any young person has to spend a single night sleeping rough in this country.  While young people make up only a small percentage of those identified through this research, this has the potential to rise significantly with the proposed removal of Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds."

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