News

02.03.15

Rough sleeping in England risen 55% since 2010

Government figures have revealed that rough sleeping in England has risen by 55% since 2010, with 2,744 people having slept rough on any one night last year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) statistics show a 14% rise in rough sleeping on last year, which the charity Crisis says is caused by a combination of cuts to benefits and government welfare reform and a chronic housing shortage

The charity also slams the “longstanding legal injustice where many homeless people are not considered a ‘priority’ for help”.

It says that councils have no legal duty to find most single homeless people accommodation, and therefore are turning increasing numbers away to sleep on the streets.

Jon Sparkes, the charity’s chief executive, said: “These figures show that the law is badly failing people facing homelessness. Welfare reform, benefit cuts and a chronic shortage of affordable homes mean more and more people are coming to their council as homeless. But as the law stands, far too often when single people ask for help, they are turned away to sleep on the street.

“Homelessness is a frightening and isolating experience – the average age of death for a homeless person is just 47. No one should be condemned to these dangers. That’s why we’re calling on political parties to commit to review how the law protects people from the devastation of life on the streets.”

The figures from DCLG suggest that the problem is particularly acute in London, where rough sleeping is rising more than twice as fast as in the rest of the country. 742 people slept rough on any one night in the capital in 2014, an increase of 79% since 2010 and 37% since 2013.

Homelessness minister Kris Hopkins said: “As a result of the successful introduction of the 'No Second Night Out' initiative in London, which we are supporting other areas across England to take up, more rough sleepers are now being found and given the help they need and around three-quarters of new rough sleepers in London do not spend a second night on the streets.”

(Image source: Trowbridge Estate)

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