Rough sleeping in London
- A total of 5,678 people were seen sleeping rough on London's streets in the financial year 2011/12 - representing a 43% increase on 2010/11.
- Over a quarter of the rough sleepers were from Central and Eastern European countries.
Rough sleepers in London
What does this graph show?
The figures in the graph above relate to the number of people in contact with services who work with rough sleepers. They come from the CHAIN database, a project funded by the Mayor of London's office. They represent a total of people over the year, rather than a snapshot on a particular date.
In 2011-12, about 5700 people were seen sleeping rough at least once over the course of the year by street outreach teams. This is a rise of 43% (1700 people) in just one year and is more than twice the level observed in 2003. This follows a different trajectory to the figures on official homeless acceptances, which fell in London from around 2003.
In 2011-12, 3800 of all those seen rough sleeping were in contact with outreach teams for the first time. This is around two-thirds of the total, and is effectively the group targeted by the No Second Night Out initiative to reduce rough sleeping by 2012, to which the Mayor is committed. The aim of this work is to direct people who have just begun to sleep rough towards services designed for them. In effect it is dealing with the "flow" of people who become rough sleepers, rather than the "stock".
Of all the rough sleepers, 27% or 1500 people were from Central and Eastern European countries. The graph shows that most of the increase in rough sleeping from 2004 to 2010-11 came from this group, though for the latest year, UK nationals also saw a huge rise.
The increases suggest that the changes to housing benefit could be exacerbating a situation already made worse by the hardships faced due to the recession in London.
For the purpose of obtaining the most accurate figure, following consultation, the government has widened the definition of rough sleeping to include those people who are clearly just about to sleep rough on the night of the street count but are not yet doing so. The production of guidelines for estimates and street counts has been passed from government to the homeless charity Homeless Link, who will also take responsibility for ensuring the independent verification of counts in the future.
Homeless Link's Survey of Needs and Provisions 2010 found that:
- Homeless day centres in London see an average of 113 people a day.
- 32% of homelessness projects in London reported that the majority of their clients are rough sleepers.
- The issues that London homelessness services reported ranged from services for drug users and Eastern Europeans to a lack of space or spaces being unused because of restricted referral systems. The most common answer given was funding (38%), followed by move-on accommodation and support (32%).
Indicator last updated: 7 September 2012
- Barking and Dagenham
- City of London
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Kingston upon Thames
- Richmond upon Thames
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest
- Households accepted as homeless by borough
- Households accepted as homeless and in temporary accommodation
- Temporary accommodation by borough
- Length of stay in temporary accommodation
- Mortgage repossessions by borough
- Landlord repossessions by borough
- Temporary accommodation by tenure
- Overcrowded households by tenure over time
- House prices by borough
- Changes to Housing Benefit
- London households affected by Housing Benefit changes
- Rental shortfall resulting from Housing Benefit changes
- Housing tenure
- Local Housing Allowance recipients in London
- Local Housing Allowance recipients by borough
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To be formally recognised as homeless, the person or household must either lack a 'licence to occupy' a home, be unable to access their normal accommodation, or it must be considered unreasonable for them to have to occupy the home they are in
(Adapted from the Housing Act 1996 Part VII para 175)