Fall in people seen sleeping rough testament to the success of ‘Everyone In’ but there are still real challenges ahead

St Mungo’s responds as new data about those seen sleeping on the streets of London this summer is released

The drop in the number of people seen rough sleeping in London during the summer is testament to the co-ordinated and committed approach to tackling the issue during the pandemic, but there is still more to do.

That is the response of leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s as new figures detailing the number of people seen sleeping rough in the capital between July and September have been released by the Greater London Authority today (30 October).

The new Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) data reveals a 19% decrease in the number of people seen rough sleeping in those three months when compared to the previous three. But it also reveals 55% (1,901) of those who were seen sleeping rough during that period were doing so for the first time.

The data also shows:

  • A total of 3,444 people were seen sleeping rough between July and the end of September compared to 4,227 people between April and June
  • 77% (1,457) of people newly sleeping rough were prevented from having to spend a second night out
  • ?A 14% decrease in the number of people seen sleeping rough compared to the same period last year

Following the publication of the data, St Mungo’s is urging national and local government to build on the success of the ‘Everyone In’ initiative. And to continue working closely with service providers to develop longer term solutions that prevent more people ending up street homeless.

St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “The latest CHAIN figures reflect the success of Everyone In, showing a 19% reduction in those sleeping rough, since the last quarter and a 14% decrease on this time last year. But as winter approaches, without the right interventions, we can expect the numbers to rise again.

“It is concerning that more than half of people sleeping rough in this quarter were new to the streets. But the fact that more than three quarters of those new rough sleepers only spent one night outside is testament to the hard work that goes into helping people off the street as quickly as possible.”

Mr Douglas also highlighted the fact that the number of people seen sleeping rough for the first time who then transition to living on the streets has increased by almost a quarter (23%) when compared to the same period last year, saying: “Although not surprising given that some of the services which are so effective at preventing this happening were partially suspended as a result of the pandemic, this needs attention. Preventing this transition is one of the key elements which from our experience prevents rough sleeping.

He continued: “Alongside the four-year Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme, which will provide housing and support over that period, important initiatives such as No Second Night Out and Somewhere Safe to Stay should be part of an ongoing programme of work to ensure that we stem the flow of people finding themselves sleeping rough in the first place.

“One of the big positives from Everyone In was the close working between Government, local authorities, homelessness charities and statutory agencies. And we, like the many homelessness charities working across the capital, remain committed to working with the GLA, national and local government to achieve our shared goal of ending rough sleeping,” he concluded. ??