St Mungo’s reacts to latest Rough Sleeping figures

New CHAIN data shows continuing positive effect of ‘Everyone In’ but also contains ‘concerning warning signs’ of problems ahead.

The latest data detailing the number of people sleeping rough on London’s streets has been released with the good work of the ‘Everyone In’ initiative still apparent.

However, they also show concerning ‘warning signs’ which if left unchecked could lead to serious problems ahead, leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has cautioned.

The data, released by the Great London Authority, show the overall number of people sleeping rough in the capital during October, November and December fell to 3,307 – down from 3,444 for the previous three months.

The new Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) data also reveals that 48% (1,582) of people seen sleeping rough were doing so for the first time. Of that number, almost three quarters (74%) were supported before they had to spend a second night on the streets – which is down 7% since last March.

Concerningly though, there was a large rise in the number of people who were new to the streets who transitioned to living on the streets for an extended period, which increased by 47% from the previous quarter, and 31% on the same period last year. And an increase in the total number of people living on the streets – up by 23% on the previous quarter.

Reacting to the new data Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s said: “The hard work and collective effort of everyone who has worked tirelessly since last March, including the GLA, local authorities and homelessness charities has made a real difference. And we can see that both the total number of people sleeping rough, and the number of those who are doing so for the first time, have both fallen again.

“However, we know homelessness is not a static issue and these statistics show that there is a still a flow of people coming to the streets. And as the economy and employment market falters, the end of the eviction ban approaches, and without a commitment to extend the uplift in Universal Credit there are many more people facing a very real threat of losing their homes who could become part of this picture in the future, said Mr Douglas.

He continued: “It is also worrying that we have, for a second quarter, seen an increase in the number of people moving from being new to the streets to living on them. This is not good news and is why services such as No Second Night Out are so important.

“These are concerning warning signs and must not be ignored. We need to make sure there is support for people at every stage – for those at risk of coming to the streets, providing the safety net which catches them before they spend a second night sleeping rough, and also the more intensive holistic care required for people who have become entrenched rough sleepers and often have increased and complex needs.

“All partners involved in addressing homelessness and rough sleeping have seen how effective a different approach can be, but we know there is more we still need to do, both to prevent a person ending up rough sleeping in the first place, and then to ensure that they don’t return to the streets,” Mr Douglas concluded.