29% increase in people forced to sleep rough for the first time in London – Crisis responds
Today, new figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network have shown that 2,086 people were found to be sleeping on London’s streets for the first time between July and September. This is a 13% increase in new people seen sleeping rough in the same quarter last year, and a 29% increase from April to June this year.
In total, 4,068 people were sleeping rough across the capital between July and September this year. This is a 12% increase on the same quarter last year, and a 24% increase from April to June this year.
The figures also highlighted that, of the total number of people forced to sleep rough in London:
- Almost half (49%) had mental health needs
- Over 550 (14%) were aged 55 or above
The statistics also show that the progress made to tackle rough sleeping during the pandemic has now been lost. The figures are 36% higher than when the Everyone In scheme, which provided people rough sleeping with emergency accommodation during the pandemic, was in place.1
The figures show the stark reality that many households are struggling in the face of the continued cost of living crisis, rising rents and the chronic shortage of genuinely affordable housing. Ahead of the upcoming Autumn Statement, Crisis is calling for the Westminster Government to take immediate action by unfreezing housing benefit - which remains at 2018-19 rent levels - meaning people are often left to make up huge shortfalls to cover their rent or are unable to find a home they can afford at all.
Matt Downie, Chief Executive at Crisis, said: “Rough sleeping is gruelling and dangerous. Yet, today’s figures show that a devastating lack of support combined with crippling rents and high living costs is continuing to push thousands onto the capital’s streets.
“Make no mistake, the Westminster Government’s target of ending rough sleeping by next year is now completely out of reach. But we must not give up and just accept more and more people forced to sleep on our streets. We need a different approach from the Government to ensure more people aren’t forced to bed down in a cold doorway this winter. To do this the Chancellor must invest in housing benefit at the upcoming Autumn Statement so that people can afford even the cheapest of rents, and we need investment in services for people with support needs like mental health. Unless this happens, we will see more and more people enduring a life of poor health, abuse and isolation from society because they have nowhere else to go.”
The figures come as Crisis is once again preparing to open it’s Christmas services to offer warmth, companionship, and vital support to some of the most marginalised in society at one of the toughest times of year. This year, in the capital, Crisis will be providing hotel accommodation to over 590 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough over the festive period, as well as opening three-day centres for hundreds of people stuck living in insecure accommodation - such as hostels and B&Bs.
To support Crisis this Christmas, donate at www.crisis.org.uk/donate