Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has said ending rough sleeping a “within our grasp” as new figures show the number of people sleeping on the streets is at its lowest level in eight years.
Responding to the Government’s latest snapshot rough sleeping figures for England which were released today (24 February), the charity also sees the fall in the numbers as a continuation of the effects of the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.
The data published today (24 February) by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) shows that there were 2,440 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2021. This is down 9% from 2020 and at its lowest level in eight years.
In the areas where the St Mungo’s operates, the numbers demonstrate a:
- 10% fall in London, from 710 to 640 people
- 6% drop in the South West, from 350 to 330 people
- 4% drop in the South East, from 470 to 450 people
Responding to the figures, St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented levels of collaboration to support people off the streets and on the route to recovery.
“The ‘Everyone In’ initiative proved what could be achieved with the right funding, different organisations and government departments working together, and genuine collaboration between local and national government, and between public health and the homelessness sector.”
“We know from our experience managing 30 hotels and supporting more than 4,000 people during this initiative, as well as the circa 3,200 that we support daily, that through a cross-party, cross-government and cross-sector response, ending rough sleeping is achievable.
“Today’s data reveals that ending street homelessness is now within our grasp if this approach is continued and developed.
“A key recommendation of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping was a long-term approach and integrated strategy that brings all responsible Government departments together with a shared objective.
“DLUHC, under the leadership of Michael Gove, has a real opportunity to take forward the positive things we have learned from the last two years, and build on them quickly to further our shared aim of ending street homelessness.
“We welcome the Government’s intention to set out its long-term strategy, and the work of the Kerslake Commission provides an important reference point.”
The snapshot figures are based on a single night street count which every local authority in England undertakes each year during October and November, or estimates from local councils which are verified and agreed by Homeless Link.
It does not include people who live in hostels or other temporary accommodation.
Additional areas of interest include:
- Westminster, which traditionally has the highest number of people sleeping rough in the country, has seen a 23% fall from 242 to 187 people.
- Manchester has seen a significant drop (37%) from 68 to 43 people
- Men make up the majority (86%) of the numbers, the same as in 2020
- 86% of people were aged 26 and over, compared to 87% last year
- 67% of people were from the UK, compared to 72% in 2020.