New data released today (29 October), which shows there were almost 3,000 people sleeping rough in London between July and September, contains, ‘concerning red flags’ according to leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s.
The new statistics from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), which is run by the Greater London Authority and collated by St Mungo’s, show street outreach teams recorded 2,918 people sleeping rough in the capital this summer, with 1,361 (47%) of those people doing so for the first time.
The total figure is up from the previous three months when 2,589 people were recorded sleeping rough.
Of these, 425 people were defined as ‘living on the streets’ – 26% higher than the same period last year, and 8% higher than during April to June; and the highest number since October to December 2019, when 455 people were living on the streets.
The percentage of people who only spent a single night on the street was 78% (1,059) up from 74% on the previous quarter.
Petra Salva, OBE, Director of Rough Sleeping, Westminster and Migrant Services at St Mungo’s, said: “These figures show contain some concerning red flags – specifically the large proportion of people who are sleeping rough for the first time, and the number who are now defined as ‘living on the streets’.
“But they also show the effect of the hard work and dedication of the outreach teams and services around London which has resulted in almost 8 out of 10 people being helped before they have to spend a second night on the streets.
“With winter approaching, and energy costs and inflation rising, we know people are likely to struggle and we may see a significant increase in the number of people becoming homeless.
“Whatever happens St Mungo’s teams will continue to work 365 days a year to ensure that as many people as possible are helped off the streets and supported as they recover from homelessness.”
The data also shows that:
- The majority of people sleeping rough in London are male (82%)
- 37% of individuals were prison leavers and 51% had a mental health support need.
- The number of individuals moved from the streets and into temporary accommodation has increased from 45% in April-June 2021, to 70% during this quarter.
Following the release of the CHAIN data, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced £66 million in funding to provide ‘safe and warm accommodation’ and grants for support services to help people sleeping rough over the winter months.
This announcement follows the Spending Review earlier this week – where the Government committed to spend at least £630m a year tackling homelessness and rough sleeping for the next three years.
The multi-year funding settlement, which was one of the key recommendations of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, was welcomed by St Mungo’s.