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Over 3,000 people rough sleeping in the capital during the third national lockdown – Crisis response

New figures today from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) – the most comprehensive data available about the number of people rough sleeping in London – reveals that from January to March 2021, 3,002 people slept rough across London, this was down 9% on the previous quarter, while 1,567 slept rough for the first time during this period.

The figures also show:

  • 33% of people rough sleeping had two or more support needs
  • 1,587 people were placed in emergency accommodation, this is up 72% from the last quarter. This reflects the work of local authorities and the Greater London Authority to continue to accommodate people sleeping rough during the pandemic.

Reacting to the figures Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “It’s deeply concerning that we entered the new year and a third national lockdown with over 3,000 people sleeping on our streets and 316 people forced to live this way day-after-day. Rough sleeping at any time is unacceptable, but we must remember this was when coronavirus cases were rapidly accelerating, and temperatures were freezing meaning this situation was all the more dangerous and deadly.

“While fewer people were sleeping rough during this time due to councils going to great lengths to get everyone in, people did continue to fall through the cracks, largely because of their immigration status. The same issue persists today so we must stress that while the threat of the virus remains among us, we urge councils to continue to provide everyone with a safe place to stay in line with the recent High Court judgement.

“But ultimately a hotel room is not a safe and secure home. We urgently need the Westminster government to set out a clear plan to end rough sleeping and homelessness by providing genuinely affordable housing. This must also include a new approach to how we treat people with interlocking problems such as mental health, trauma and drug and alcohol dependencies, which can only be achieved by making Housing First available to everyone who needs it. As we move out of the pandemic, a truly impactful and lasting recovery must have ending homelessness at its heart.”