Ending homelessness, rebuilding lives

St Mungo’s responds to 21% increase in people sleeping rough in London

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s says the increase in the number of people sleeping rough in London in the last year shows the tragic link between lack of affordable housing and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

New data released today (27 June 2023) by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), which covers 2022/23, showed the total number of people seen sleeping rough in London increased from 8,329 in 2021/22 to 10,053 in 2022/23. This is a 21% increase.

The CHAIN Annual Report April 2022-March 2023 found:

  • of the 10,053 people who were sleeping rough, 6,391 were doing so for the first time, compared with 5,091 from the same period in 2021/22. This is a 26% rise
  • 2,084 people had been seen rough sleeping for at least two consecutive years
  • 1,578 people returned to the streets, after more than a year without sleeping rough. The number of people in this situation has increased by 31% from 1,205 in 2021/22.

Emma Haddad, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:

“The 21% increase in the number of people experiencing street homelessness in London is a tragic reflection of the impact of the cost of living crisis and the severe lack of affordable housing. The shrinking supply of affordable homes in the private rented sector, and the chronic undersupply of social housing, means people are struggling to find and keep somewhere to live.

“Across St Mungo’s we continue to work innovatively and collaboratively to support those who need us. Every day our teams are working with people in crisis to build a life away from the streets.

“To prevent the current situation from worsening, we urge the Government to increase Housing Benefit so it properly reflects the true cost of renting. Without immediate intervention, the number of people sleeping rough will continue to rise.”

Notes to editors:

The number of people sleeping rough as reported in the CHAIN Annual Report 2022/23 is lower than the cumulative total of each of the quarterly reports. This is because some people will sleep rough across the year meaning they are counted in multiple quarterly reports, but only once in the annual report.

The CHAIN annual report categorises someone as returning to rough sleeping if they have previously been seen rough sleeping prior to the financial year preceding this report (before 2021/22) and have returned to the streets during 2022/23.

CHAIN reports present information about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London. CHAIN is commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and managed by Homeless Link.

Anyone who is concerned about a person who is sleeping rough should contact Streetlink via https://thestreetlink.org.uk/

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