Number of rough sleepers down in London but ‘more work to do’, warns mayor

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he number of people sleeping rough in London has fallen by 24 per cent compared to last year, new figures have shown.

A total of 8,329 people were seen sleeping rough by outreach workers in London during the 2021/22 financial year, down from 11,018 the previous year. Of those seen sleeping rough in 2021/22, 70 per cent were assessed as having a support need, while 50 per cent needed mental health assistance.

The latest quarterly report from the City Hall-commissioned Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) found that, while the vast majority of those sleeping rough were UK nationals, 22 per cent were from Central and Eastern Europe including 14 per cent from Romania.

Between January and March 2022, a total of 2,714 people were seen sleeping rough in London, 928 of them in outer London boroughs. Westminster was the borough that saw the greatest number of rough sleepers in this period with 618, an increase of 30 on the previous period.

Responding to the latest figures, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was “encouraging” that fewer people were sleeping rough on London’s streets, but that “there is more work to do to end this crisis”.

He said: “During the pandemic London led the country in bringing people in off the streets. My pioneering ‘In for Good’ principle meant that, following our intervention, more than 80 per cent of those we supported weren’t seen sleeping rough again.

“Ministers now must step up their support to combat the cost-of-living crisis which threatens to reverse these hard-won gains. I also urge them to fund the services and social security system that people sleeping rough need, reform the private rented sector and invest in new council and genuinely affordable homes to help prevent Londoners becoming homeless in the first place.”

In the final reporting quarter of 2021/22, a total of 27 people were identified as new rough sleepers who were classified as living on the streets in London, down from 40 the previous quarter. There were 275 new rough sleepers spending more than one night on the streets but not classified as living on the streets, while there were 993 new rough sleepers who had no second night on the streets.

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