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25% rise in people sleeping rough for the first time in London during 2023

Crisis is urging the next Westminster government to immediately prioritise tackling the mounting homelessness crisis as numbers sleeping rough across the capital hit nearly 12,000

New figures released today (Thursday 27 June 2024) show that nearly 8,000 people were forced to sleep rough for the first time in London last year, an increase of 25% on the previous year. The figures highlight how rising rents, a scarcity of genuinely affordable housing, and struggling statutory services are forcing more people into rough sleeping, and homelessness.

Figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show that:

  • The number of people sleeping rough for the first time in London rose to 7,974 in 2023/24, up from 6,391 in 2022/23 – an increase of 25%.
  • There were 11,993 people seen sleeping rough across 2023/24, up from 10,053 in 2022/23 – an increase of 19%.
  • More than 1 in 5 (22%) people sleeping rough for the first time had previously been renting privately before being forced onto the street.
  • This year’s overall figure for the number of people sleeping rough was 58% higher than 2014/15.

Earlier this week, Crisis released new data showing that demand had soared for its frontline services across Britain (25%), with its service in Brent having seen the biggest rise (44%) over the last year.

Crisis has been pushing the major parties on the need to end homelessness with homes. Research commissioned by the charity and the National Housing Federation shows that we need to build an additional 90,000 social rented homes annually for the next 15 years to end homelessness.

To achieve the step-change in housing and homelessness needed, Crisis is also calling on the next Government to establish an Office for Ending Homelessness in its first 100 days to coordinate a cross-government plan to end homelessness, including measures on delivering genuinely affordable homes.

Immediate actions should include unlocking existing housing through measures to tackle empty homes, and converting unused commercial space into high quality, settled homes would help make more social homes. Alongside this, Crisis wants to see a rollout of specialist support for people with multiple and serious support needs through investment in a national Housing First programme. This would help people rebuild their lives away from the streets and temporary accommodation, which far too many of us are trapped in.

Responding to the figures, Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: "These figures are deeply shameful and highlight the desperate need for the next government to get a grip on this crisis.

"Right now, we’re in a perfect storm: sky-high rents, a dire shortage of affordable housing and increased living costs are pushing more people onto the streets. For thousands, this means long nights of trying to stay safe, moving from night bus to night bus or bedding down in a noisy doorway where sleep is all but impossible. None of us should have to experience this.

"But the next government has the power to change things. By rapidly increasing the supply of good quality, genuinely affordable housing, alongside investing in specialist services, we can help people to leave the streets behind.

"Only with bold ambition and sheer determination will we create a future free from homelessness."


Notes to Editors 

Today, Thursday 27 June 2024, the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) statistics have been published, showing levels of rough sleeping across London for the year 2023/24.

  • In total during this period outreach teams recorded 11,993 individuals sleeping rough in the capital. This is a 19% increase on the total figure for the year before and 58% higher than 10 years ago. It is also the largest increase in terms of actual numbers during the same period.
  • The number of new rough sleepers recorded during this period – 7,974 – was 25% higher than last year. New rough sleepers made up 66% of all people recorded rough sleeping in London in 2023/24.
  • 2,387 people were recorded who were deemed to be living on the streets. This is 14.5% higher than last year.

Read and download the CHAIN 2023/24 figures and report here.

So far, the major parties have committed to the following:


  • A continued commitment towards ending rough sleeping
  • 1.6m homes in the next Parliament (no specific number of social homes)
  • A Renters Reform Bill alongside court reforms to end no-fault evictions


  • A cross-government strategy to end all forms of homelessness
  • 1.5m new homes over the next parliament, with a commitment to 'the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation' (no specific number of social homes)
  • Reform of the private rented sector to immediately end no-fault evictions; new legal protections for tenants to improve standards; and a cap on the upfront costs of deposits and rent in advance tenants can be asked to pay

Liberal Democrats

  • A cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness, alongside a commitment to ending rough sleeping within this parliament
  • Building 150,000 social homes a year
  • Reform of the private rented sector and an immediate end to no-fault evictions
  • Scrapping the 200-year old Vagrancy Act
  • A ‘somewhere safe to stay’ legal duty to ensure that everyone at risk of sleeping rough is provided with emergency accommodation and an assessment of their needs
  • Sufficient resources for LAs to provide accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse

Green Party

  • 150,000 new social homes every year, including the purchasing and refurbishing of older housing stock and ending the individual ‘right to buy’ programme
  • Rent control powers for local authorities
  • An end to no-fault evictions and ‘private residential tenancy boards’ to provide a forum for resolving disputes.