More money promised to tackle rough sleeping as numbers rise

Sadiq Khan pledges to spend extra £20m tackling homelessness as rough sleeping rises 21% across the capital and 19% in Enfield, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

There has been a 29% rise in rough sleeping across London over the last decade
There has been a 21% rise in rough sleeping over the last year

City Hall is investing a further £20m to tackle rough sleeping across London after the latest figures revealed it had risen 21% since last year.

Statistics published as part of the latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) annual report reveal that a total of 10,053 people were seen sleeping rough in London during 2022/23 – up from 8,329 people seen in 2021/22.

In Enfield, the number rose from 183 in 2021/22 to 219 in 2022/23, an increase of 19%. Over the same period Haringey saw a rise of 13%, from 268 to 304 rough sleepers recorded by Chain. Waltham Forest’s number also rose, from 153 to 186, representing a 21.5% increase.

Barnet was the only North London borough to see a fall in rough sleeping over the last year, from 173 to 166 – a 4% drop.

More than three-quarters of the new funding announced by City Hall earlier this month will be used to deliver the mayor’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) service from 1st April 2024 until 21st March 2027, with the possibility of extending the service for up to a further two years. The service supports people who are seen sleeping rough for the first time.

The remaining £2.75m of funding will go towards other pan-London rough sleeping services, such as StreetLink – enabling the service to continue working across London and providing a triage phoneline for those new to the streets – and a training programme to upskill the homelessness and migrant sectors to better support non-UK nationals sleeping rough in the capital.

A shelter for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are sleeping rough will also be among the initiatives to benefit from the remaining funds.

People sleeping rough for the first time represented 64% of the total in 2022/23. Of the new rough sleepers, some 20% had been evicted from their property, and around two-thirds had been living in some form of long-term accommodation immediately prior to sleeping rough.

By far the highest number of rough sleepers in 2022/23 were located in the borough of Westminster, in which some 2,050 people were identified – even if only sleeping rough for one night. It was followed by Camden, where 719 rough sleepers were seen, and Lambeth, with 623. The lowest numbers over the course of the year were seen in Sutton (30), Merton (63) and Havering (79).

Some 233 people were seen sleeping rough in Heathrow Airport, while 142 were identified on the capital’s bus routes, and 36 on the tube network.

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