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16% rise in people rough sleeping for the first time in London – Crisis responds

New figures today from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) reveal that from July to September 2021: 

  • 2,918 people slept rough across London, a 13% increase on the previous quarter and 15% drop on the same period last year. 
  • 1,361 slept rough for the first time, a 16% rise on the last quarter. 
  • 1,615 people had support needs including 1,146 with mental health needs. 

Responding to the figures, Matt Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the number of people forced to sleep rough has dropped since the pandemic sparked a surge in people being forced out onto the capital’s streets. But there’s early indication that these numbers are starting to creep back up which cannot be allowed to go unchecked. 

“What's more, with more than half of people sleeping rough in London with support needs such as mental health, people facing multiple challenges to end their homelessness are being left out in the cold. 

“We urgently need to see Government action to make sure everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live. The funding announced to tackle rough sleeping in the Budget this week and in the Winter Pressures Fund today is welcome, but for this to make a real impact the money must be used immediately on effective solutions, like a national roll-out of Housing First, so people with complex support needs get the right help to end their homelessness for good.”  


Notes to Editor

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) is the most comprehensive data available about the number of people rough sleeping in London.  

The figures show that between July-September 2021:  

  • 2,918 people were recorded sleeping rough – this is a 13% increase on the last quarter and 15% drop on the same period on the previous year.
  • 1,361 were seen rough sleeping for the first time, representing 47% of all people seen sleeping rough. 
  • 1,615 people had support needs, including 1,146 with mental health needs. In total, among those where information about support needs is available, 76% had at least one support need.
  • 425 people were living on the streets (seen rough sleeping for 3 weeks or more or five or more contacts this quarter). This is 8% higher than the last quarter and 26% higher than the same time last year. 
  • 81% of people supported off the streets went into emergency or temporary accommodation, compared to 19% moving into long term accommodation.

Today the Government announced support for people rough sleeping over winter.