Rough sleeping in England skyrockets by 30% in one year
Rough sleeping in England has increased by 30% in one year, new Department for Communities and Local Government figures show.
The report, based on snapshot counts and estimates from all 326 local housing authorities in England, found that there were 3,569 rough sleepers in autumn 2015, compared to 2,744 last year.
The 30% hike is the single biggest increase in the last five years and compares to a 25% increase in the three-year period from autumn 2011 to 2014.
In London specifically, figures increased by 27% compared to last year, amounting to 940 rough sleepers. In the rest of England, the difference grew to 31%.
The ten local authorities with the highest number of rough sleepers were Westminster, Bristol, Brighton and Hove, Manchester, Cornwall, Brent, Luton, Bedford, Croydon and the City of London.
Jon Sparkes, CEO at homelessness charity Crisis, said: “The government has made positive steps towards tackling homelessness in recent months, particularly in protecting funding and committing to explore legal options to prevent homelessness.
“However, today’s rough sleeping figures are a stark and sobering wake-up call and show just how far there is to go before homeless people get the practical help and the legal protection they so desperately need.”
Crisis launched a new campaign today, ‘Home: No Less Will Do’, which calls on the government to extend the support now offered to first-time buyers to homeless people looking to rent.
Local government minister Marcus Jones said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough, which is why we have increased central funding to tackle homelessness over the next four years to £139m.
“We have protected homelessness prevention funding and expect local authorities to provide quality advice and assistance to all those that approach them for help. Many rough sleepers have complex needs that include mental health difficulties or addiction, and we are developing a £5m social impact bond that will help entrenched rough sleepers move off the streets.”
(Image c. Trowbridge Estate)