The number of rough sleepers in London has gone up 13 per cent in the past year, according to statistics commissioned by the Greater London Authority and local authorities.
Homelessness charity Broadway released figures today Thursday 20th June 2013 showing the number of people seen sleeping on the streets of the capital between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 was 6,437 compared to 5,678 the previous year.
Just over half of those seen rough sleeping were non-UK nationals (53 per cent). Twenty-eight per cent of these were from central and eastern Europe.
75 per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets – 3,255 out of 4,353 – were only seen sleeping rough once. This was an improvement on 2011/12 when 70 per cent of new comers to the street were seen sleeping out for more than one night and 62 per cent in 2010/11, This could be attributed to the success of the no second night out scheme, that has now been running for two years and aims to stop new people to the streets spending a second night there. Fifty-one per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets attended NSNO, the Street to Home 2012/13 report shows.
The rise in rough sleeping is obviously concerning. London is leading the way in terms of finding and helping new rough sleepers. However, these figures underline the need to better target effective advice and support before individuals end up on the streets of the capital.’
The figures also revealed that 12 per cent of those sleeping rough in London over the past year were female (786) and three per cent (145) of the UK nationals on the streets were known to have served in the armed forces at some point.
Crisis says that Boris Johnson must act now to rein in soaring rough sleeping in the mayor’s city.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said today on the homeless website: “The mayor of London pledged to eliminate rough sleeping in the capital by 2012. Instead we see today the number of people sleeping on London’s streets – in absolute destitution in one of the world’s richest cities – has more than doubled on Boris’s watch.
“He has the power to build tens of thousands more genuinely affordable homes and can protect services that prevent and solve homelessness, plus the clout to influence central government to reverse housing benefit cuts that have proved so damaging and are directly causing Londoners to fall into homelessness and rough sleeping. Continuing failure to do so will lead to more of his citizens facing the horrors of life on the streets.”
This latest rise in rough sleeping comes at a time when services to prevent and solve homelessness are suffering swingeing cuts from central and local government. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, 12 hostels or day centres have closed in London. There are 784 fewer bed spaces, with 58 per cent of projects in London reporting reductions in funding and further cuts to come.
To make matters worse for poorer Londoners, government statistics show that rents in the capital for 2012/13 are up 8.6 per cent on the year before. Across the capital the lowest rents rose by 10.4 per cent and in inner London the price of renting the cheapest properties went up by 16.3 per cent.
Housing benefit has been cut and capped. Previous research for Crisis highlighted how in one London borough, just 1.7% of properties were affordable and available for an under 35 year old on housing benefit looking for a room to rent.
Single people end up sleeping rough as London’s boroughs only have to help those who meet strict criteria under the homelessness legislation. While some boroughs do help other single people, these services are under pressure or being cut back and many boroughs turn single people away with little or no assistance, leaving them with little option but to sleep rough or get by on friends’ or families’ floors or in squats.
The Street to Home report is compiled by Broadway from figures gathered by London outreach teams from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network. Eighty projects contribute to the CHAIN database, which holds comprehensive data on rough sleeping and the street population in London.
Read about what one man is doing to raise awareness for the homeless problem in the UK while raising money for ‘Help the Heroes’
Former soldier Christian is walking the entire UK coast line and you can see a little more about him when producer Johnny Lynch.caught up with him as he journey brought him through Norfolk earlier this month where a documentary filmed will be available soon.
To donate use the link http://www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock