30 June 2017

St Mungo’s is urging the government to follow through on their manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping and tackle homelessness, as a new report revealed that 8,108 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2016-17. The figure is about the same as the previous year, when 8,096 people were found by outreach workers across the capital.

The figures are from the CHAIN Greater London report. This brings together information about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams across London through the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Dominic Williamson, St Mungo’s Executive Director of Strategy and Policy, said: “Rough sleeping is dangerous and the number of people experiencing this in our capital city and across the country is a real scandal.

“After the doubling of the figures since 2010-11, we are encouraged to see that the rapid increases in the number of people seen sleeping rough on the streets of London over the recent years seems to have slowed. However, the fact remains that 8,000 people slept rough on our streets last year.

“The CHAIN report highlights the amazing work done by outreach teams, No Second Night Out, hostels and other services to find people and help them off the streets as quickly as possible. We welcome the Mayor of London’s commitments to tackle the problem and are pleased to be a member of his taskforce.

“But making real progress will require leadership from central government. That is why we were very pleased to see all the main political parties making pledges to tackle rough sleeping in the run up to the general election. The Conservative party itself committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022, and end it completely by 2027.

“These figures today show that this ambitious aim will require further coordinated work across central, regional and local government, communities, health, welfare, police and housing agencies to make it a reality.

“Preventing more people coming on to the streets is a priority. Earlier this year the Homelessness Reduction Act was passed with cross-party support. Ministers must now implement the Act as quickly as possible and support local authorities to implement it in full.

“We also need to see a new national rough sleeping strategy which particularly focuses on the needs of those with a mental health problems and protects the funding for hostels that provide a vital route off the streets for homeless people.

“We are calling on the public to ask their MPs to press the government further on their commitment on rough sleeping.”

The CHAIN Greater London full annual report and CHAIN Greater London Bulletin for 2016/17 present information about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London. Information in the report is derived from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, a multi-agency database recording information about rough sleepers and the wider street population in London. CHAIN, which is commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority and managed by St Mungo’s, represents the UK’s most detailed and comprehensive source of information about rough sleeping.

St Mungo’s has outreach teams, commissioned by local authorities, which go out day and night to work with anyone who is sleeping rough and offer the right support to help people off the streets and to rebuild their lives. The starting point for our work is the belief that sleeping on the streets is dangerous and harmful to people’s health, regardless of where you are from. Our role is about advocacy and support.

While some people need help finding accommodation they can afford, others face complex challenges and we always work with each person with dignity and respect to help them move away from the street for good. Supported housing is crucial in this.

Press Contact: Charlotte Cohen, Press and PR Officer, on 020 3856 6126 or charlotte.cohen@mungos.org