Numbers of new people sleeping rough on London’s streets soar
Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy comments on figures showing a 43% increase in the number of people seen sleeping rough last year on London's streets.
"This dramatic increase in the numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets of London last year must be a wake-up call - to the Mayor and central Government. Rough sleeping is traumatic for the individual and costly to society. These figures are only likely to get worse as the economic downturn and the Government's cuts to welfare continue to hit home.
"It remains a scandal that in 21st Century England there is no basic right to shelter and single people can end up with nowhere to turn but the streets - it should not be like this. We need a change in the law to ensure that all people who are homeless get the advice and support they need from their local council.
"If London can deliver an Olympics on time and under budget we must surely be able to bring a similar drive, focus and commitment to tackling this most basic of issues - that of ensuring all of our citizens have a place to call home."
The figures released from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) present information on those seen sleeping rough by outreach workers on the streets of London from April 2011 to March 2012:
- 5,678 people were seen rough sleeping in 2011-12 - a 43% increase compared to 2010-11
- 3,825 people were new rough sleepers, a 62% increase compared to 2010-11
- 2408 people were seen sleeping rough more than once - 18% increase on previous year
- Of these figures there was a 45% increase in the number of British nationals who slept rough
Crisis is calling for:
•The Mayor of London to deliver on his pledge to lead action to tackle homelessness across the capital
•The Government to rethink its cuts to housing benefit which are causing more people to become homeless and are making it much harder to rehouse those who are homeless or rough sleeping.
• A change in the law to ensure that all people who find themselves homeless or facing the threat of homelessness are guaranteed the help they need from their local council so they never have to resort to sleeping rough - not just those, mainly families, who meet the current strict Priority Need criteria.