Thames Reach
Saturday 18 November 2017
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Increase in rough sleeping leads to calls for national strategy to end this scandal

25 January 2017


A man found rough sleeping in North London
Rough sleeping across England is up 16% on last year

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced annual rough sleeping figures for England, showing a 16% national increase on last year.

The 2016 figures, compiled from a series of local authority estimates and street counts taken on a single night in autumn, show that 4,134 people slept rough, up 565 from the 2015 total of 3,569. It is the sixth year in a row that the number of rough sleepers has risen.

London had 964 rough sleepers, a 3% increase over last year and comprising 23% of the national total, down from 26% in 2015.

Jeremy Swain, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said: “These are very disappointing figures and I hope they provide the impetus for a national strategy to end the scandal of rough sleeping, led from the very top of Government.

“Ending rough sleeping is an objective that should receive all-party support and to achieve it we must focus on evidence-based solutions that meet the varied needs of homeless people.

“To support this we need a strong national database that tells us far more about who is on the streets and goes well beyond the data collected for the annual rough sleeping statistics.

“The Homelessness Prevention Programme* and the social impact bond funding, aimed at entrenched rough sleepers, together offer the perfect opportunity to make progress alongside the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which we very much hope becomes legislation.”




* In Autumn 2016, the DCLG launched the Homelessness Prevention Programme to reduce homelessness with £40 million of funding for local areas:

  • £20 million to establish a network of Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer areas where innovative new approaches to prevent homelessness will be developed
  • £10 million rough sleeping grant fund to enable local areas to intervene early with rough sleepers before their problems become entrenched
  • £10 million Social Impact Bond funding to turn around the lives of the most entrenched rough sleepers by getting them into accommodation and addressing their complex needs through personalised support