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Rough sleeping in London surges by 24% – Crisis responds

New figures released by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show a sharp rise in rough sleeping across London, with 3,628 people sleeping rough from July – September 2022. This is an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year and sparks early warning signs of a difficult winter to come for homelessness services across London.  

Worryingly, the overall increase is being driven by people sleeping rough for the first time (1,844 people and 51% of all rough sleepers) – an increase of 35% compared to the same period last year. This suggests that mounting living costs and a rapid decline in affordable housing is pushing people into homelessness.  

Other findings from the data release include: 

  • 625 women were seen sleeping rough, an increase of 25% on the previous three months 
  • The number of people seen intermittently sleeping rough was 16% higher than the same time last year. We know from our own research that many people move frequently between unsuitable living situations and homelessness, including rough sleeping
  • Sadly, the number of people deemed to be ‘living on the streets’ has also increased again (481 people), going up 13% compared to the same time last year
  • 84% of those accommodated between July and September were placed in either temporary or emergency accommodation as councils struggling to find long term affordable homes.  

These stark figures come as Crisis prepares for an incredibly busy winter. The charity will be opening its services across London in late December, providing hotel accommodation for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough over Christmas. Crisis will also be running day centres for people in insecure housing, such as B&Bs, where they’ll be provided with food and access to help and support with housing, benefits and training. 

The charity is warning that demand is set to rise this year unless the Government takes action in the autumn budget to increase housing benefit so it covers the cost of rents. Crisis is also urging the public to stand with people experiencing homelessness this winter via its urgent appeal so that thousands of people can get the vital support they need to leave homelessness behind. To donate visit:  
Responding to the figures Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “These figures are frightening, and it is disastrous to see the incredible progress made during the pandemic evaporating before our eyes. Every case of rough sleeping is a person going through the trauma, danger and despair of life on the streets, and we see every day the severe consequences it has on the rest of people’s lives.  

“Our services across the country are seeing rough sleeping and wider homelessness rising fast. This is made worse by the cost of living crisis - but let’s be clear that these dire economic times are only adding fuel to a crisis that has been burning away for years.  

“The Government must take decisive action in the autumn statement to invest in housing benefit. This will stem the flow of people onto our streets, and help people who are homeless to afford a place to live. In the long run we need a concrete plan that will deliver the social homes we need to finally end homelessness for good. We know what it takes to prevent and end homelessness - there can be no excuse anymore.” 
Notes to editors 
The latest CHAIN reports can be found here: