In the latest CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) report, outreach teams recorded 4,068 individuals sleeping rough in the capital between July to September 2023. The number of new rough sleepers in London accounted for over 50% of this total, with 2,086 people found to be sleeping rough for the very first time.
This report is deeply concerning; particularly the fact that we have record numbers of people sleeping out on our streets for the first time and an increase in the number of younger people experiencing street homelessness: 33% were between 18 – 35 years old.
“With winter approaching, this data is immensely concerning and we fear that there is a risk of rough sleeping reaching levels not seen for over two decades. In addition to emergency measures that need to be put in place over the winter period to help people move safely off the streets, there must also be measures focused on prevention, for example, the unfreezing of Local Housing Allowance Rates, access to genuine social housing and initiatives such as The Passage’s successful No Night Out scheme.
There is no reason why anyone in the UK should ever have to sleep out and it’s nothing short of a scandal that we are now seeing the number of people rough sleeping at an all-time high. During the Covid-19 pandemic, street homelessness was treated as a public health emergency, which led to society coming together to implement the Everyone In initiative.
Every day so many people in London and across the UK are working tirelessly to manage this crisis, but we can’t continue with the status quo. We urgently need to re-frame street homelessness and adopt measures that will prevent it from happening in the first place.”
– Mick Clarke, Chief Executive