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‘Unacceptable and entirely preventable’ - Nearly 3,000 people rough sleeping in London last October-December

New figures released today (31 January) by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show from October – December 2021:

  • 2,949 people were sleeping rough across London. This is a similar level to the previous quarter, an 11% drop on the same period in 2020 and below pre-pandemic levels.  
  • 1,611 people rough sleeping had one or more support needs, including 1,128 with mental health needs 
  • 491 people were seen ‘living on the streets’ (long-term rough sleeping) – 16% more than in the previous quarter and 19% higher than the same period in 2020

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “It's encouraging that fewer people are sleeping on the streets compared with a year ago and that the numbers of people rough sleeping remain below pre-pandemic levels. But there are still thousands of people forced to sleep rough in London which is unacceptable and entirely preventable. With the cost of living crisis piling extra pressure on households, more people are at risk of being pushed to the brink in the coming months.

“What’s most concerning is the rise in people who are living on the streets – meaning they are bedding down on the streets night after night. Sadly, we know all too well that people who are living on the streets often face multiple challenges to ending their homelessness, including health needs such as mental health.

“We need the Government to act now. The upcoming Health and Care Bill is an opportunity for the Government to make sure people sleeping rough and at risk can access the health services they need and integrate housing and health services to help end homelessness. This must sit alongside a roll out of Housing First, so people with complex needs can access the right help to end their homelessness for good. We cannot accept sitting back and watching while people are forced to face the brutality of rough sleeping.”