Today saw the publication of the latest annual CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) statistics of people rough sleeping in London during 2018-19, published by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

This shows that 8,855 people were seen sleeping rough in the capital during 2018-19, which is 18% higher than the 7,484 seen during 2017-18.

Alarmingly, the annual statistics show 5,529 people slept rough for the first time in 2018-19. This is a 24% increase on the number of people who were new to the streets the year before.

The figures also show the number of people returning to the streets after not being seen sleeping rough for at least a year has increased from 1,119 to 1,246.

Petra Salva, St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeping, Criminal Justice and Migrants Services, said:

“After the numbers almost stabilised last year, it’s alarming to see another rise in rough sleeping of 18% in London this year, with a 24% increase of new people to the streets. This highlights the real challenge around prevention.

“These figures also highlight a rise in the number of people returning to rough sleeping after at least a year away from the streets. This shows the importance of getting the right long term accommodation and support in place for people who have slept rough in ensuring people can rebuild their lives away from the street for good.

“Recent short term funding provided as part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy has been welcome. However, it does not replace what has been lost in cuts to homelessness services over the last nine years. The Government must use this year’s spending review to properly restore funding and secure the future of homelessness services, so as to not miss its target of ending rough sleeping by 2027.”

St Mungo’s is calling on the Government to make sure everyone has a home for good and to fix the 1bn hole in vital homelessness services.