St Mungo’s has welcomed the 8% decrease in the number of people sleeping rough in London last year and urged national government to make sure its rough sleeping strategy coordinates action to reduce numbers in all parts of the country.
Today saw the latest annual CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) statistics on rough sleeping in London, published by the Greater London Authority (GLA).
This shows that 7,484 people were seen sleeping rough in the capital during 2017-18, 8% lower than the 8,108 seen during 2016-17.
The Mayor of London has also published a new Plan of Action on rough sleeping, including commitments to invest in pan-London services and to lobby national government to tackle the root causes of homelessness.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “The reduction in rough sleeping in the capital is positive news, especially as there were 13% fewer new rough sleepers last year than in 2016-17.
“London seems to be bucking the national trend, which saw rough sleeping rise 15% between 2016 and 2017, but with nearly 7,500 people still sleeping rough the Mayor is right to stay focused on this crisis.
“Services in London are working better together to prevent people sleeping rough in the first place and help them off the streets quickly if they end up there. The Mayor’s decision to invest further in pan-London services to support people off the street quickly, wherever they end up in, is the right one.
“It is alarming that the number of people returning to rough sleeping after time away from the streets has risen by 8%. Getting the right long-term accommodation and support in place is key to ensuring everyone can rebuild their lives away from the street for good.
“People sleeping rough are increasingly struggling with problems around health and substance use that are deep-rooted. We hope the Mayor continues to focus on getting the right support to people quickly and coordinating efforts across health, housing, criminal justice and employment services in the capital.
“Homelessness isn’t inevitable. This shows what can be done when there is a long term, concerted and coordinated effort to tackle rough sleeping. I look forward to seeing similar plans for coordinated action in the Government’s new national rough sleeping strategy when it’s published next month.”
The Mayor has today announced funding for a number of services in the capital to support people sleeping rough. St Mungo’s will be delivering;
– The expansion of the No Second Night Out (NSNO) service to include two additional NSNO staging posts and the creation of floating hubs
During 2017-18 this service in London has helped support 1447 people newly rough sleeping away from the streets into assessment hubs, where they can then be quickly supported away from the streets depending on the options. The three assessment hubs are in north, south and west London and ideally people are moved on within 72 hours. Staging posts provide emergency accommodation when new rough sleepers have complex issues and move on accommodation is harder to find quickly. Currently there are 46 beds across two projects and this money will help us support more people.
– The expansion of Routes Home to provide further support to boroughs and the creation of floating hubs
Since 2014, Routes Home has worked with 528 clients, assisting 214 to return home to be reunited with families or linked with services in their countries of nationality.
The additional funding will be used to increase team’s capacity to reach out to and assess EEA rough sleepers with complex needs and provide sustainable accommodation and treatment options either in the UK or in their countries of nationality. We will also be providing pop up hubs in areas of greatest need, for women, people leaving prison, young people, or those with complex immigration issues.
– New Couples Recovery service to help couples who are sleeping on the streets to recover from homelessness
This money will help us to run a pilot service providing support for couples to move on from rough sleeping together