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Rough sleeping in London over time

Key points

  • 7,580 people were recorded as rough sleeping in London in 2014/15 (and were in touch with homeless outreach teams).
  • The number of rough sleepers in London has increased every year since 2007 and is now more than double the number in the mid-2000s.
  • Some of the increase can be attributed to an increase in rough sleepers from Central and Eastern European countries; there were fewer than 500 rough sleepers in London from this region before 2005 but almost 2,700 in 2014/15. In the last year alone the number rose by 700.
  • There has also been a considerable increase in UK nationals sleeping rough in London from 1,700 in 2009/10 to 3,210 in 2014/15 (including a rise of 270 in the last year).
  • Overall the number of UK nationals rough sleeping in London was 500 higher than the number from Central and Eastern Europe.
  • In 2014/15 there were 5,110 new rough sleepers in London, up from 4,360 in 2013/14.

Rough sleeping in London over time

What does this graph show?

The graph shows that 7,580 people were recorded as rough sleeping in London in 2014/15 (and were in touch with homeless outreach teams). The number of rough sleepers in London has increased every year since 2007 and is now more than double the number in the mid-2000s. Some of this can be attributed to an increase in rough sleepers from Central and Eastern European countries; there were fewer than 500 rough sleepers in London from this region before 2005 but almost 2,700 in 2014/15. In the last year alone the number rose by 700; this is likely to be linked to Housing Benefit restrictions for European Economic Area (EEA) migrants introduced last year.

But there has also been a considerable increase in UK nationals sleeping rough in London from 1,700 in 2009/10 to 3,210 in 2014/15 (including a rise of 270 in the last year). Overall the number of UK nationals rough sleeping in London was 500 higher than the number from Central and Eastern Europe.

Throughout this period of rises, the number of new rough sleepers has risen each year as well. This suggests that the rise in the total is not due to people becoming homeless and remaining so; many of those who become homeless are moved into accommodation but are replaced with even more new rough sleepers the following year. In 2014/15 there were 5,110 new rough sleepers in London, up from 4,360 in 2013/14. The number of repeat or chronically homeless people in London does not appear to be rising as quickly which is likely to be a reflection of the work of the No Second Night Out campaign. However, the number of rough sleepers in 2014/15 that had been seen rough sleeping the previous year was, at 1,600, 190 higher than in 2013/14 and 400 higher than in 2011/12, the year that No Second Night Out launched.

Most rough sleepers in 2014/15 were aged between 26 and 55 (12% were aged under 26 and 9% were aged over 55). The vast majority were men (86%). Nearly half were assessed to have a mental health need (45%), 41% had problems with alcohol and 31% with drugs but 28% had none of these support needs.

Data used

Combined Homelessness and Information Network Annual Reports; GLA & St Mungo's Broadway

Indicator last updated: 21 October 2015