Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has warned the cost of living crisis has contributed to a 14% increase in people sleeping rough in London on the same period last year, a figure which will continue to rise if not addressed immediately.
New data released today (28 April 2023) by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), which covers January to March this year, shows:
- the total number of people seen sleeping rough in London increased from 2,714 people in January to March 2022 to 3,107 people in January to March 2023 (14% increase)
- of those, 1,490 were sleeping rough for the first time compared with 1,296 people in the same period last year, 15% higher than the same period last year
- 376 people were considered to be living on the streets, which is up from 363 from the same period the year before.
- 1,270 people were seen intermittently sleeping rough, which is 17% higher than the same period last year.
St Mungo’s Chief Executive Emma Haddad said:
“We are starting to see the full impact of the cost of living crisis, as more and more people become street homeless in London. Rising rents and bills mean people are losing their accommodation, an ever-increasing number of people are presenting with more complex mental health issues, and people who have never been at risk of homelessness before are now sleeping rough.
“Our teams work 24/7 to help as many people as we can out of homelessness, and will continue to do so. What we need is more action to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.
“The Government must increase Housing Benefit so it properly reflects the true cost of renting, and must introduce the long-promised Renters Reform Bill to prevent more evictions on to the street. Without immediate intervention, the number of people forced to sleep rough will continue to rise.”
The total number of people seen sleeping rough in London reduced by 463 people from 3,570 people in October to December 2022 to 3,107 people in January to March 2023 (13% decrease).
This is due to the impact of Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which temporarily provides shelter where there is risk to life and therefore direct quarter comparisons creates a misleading interpretation of the data.
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 streetlink.org.uk.