Rise in rough sleeping in England 'a catastrophe'

28 January, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Jared Lewis
  • Of the people counted rough sleeping in London there were 1,137. This is an increase of 18 per cent from the 2016 figure of 964

FIGURES FOR England and Wales, released by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, show a 15% increase in rough sleeping from 2016.

The chief executive of Crisis charity, Jon Sparkes said: "It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in risky and freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around".

The figures, based on snapshot street counts and paper estimates by local authorities, show that London, where figures rose by 18%, remains the centre of rough sleeping, accounting for almost a quarter of all rough sleepers.

This was an increase of 617 on the position a year earlier, equivalent to 15%, of which 173 additional rough sleepers were in London and 444 elsewhere.

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While Crisis welcomes the Government's commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027, it is urging it to take immediate action through its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce to tackle this emergency situation and help the thousands of people forced to sleep in unsafe conditions every single night. All this support will be needed to help us to end rough sleeping in Oxford.

Shelter CEO, Polly Neate, commented: "Most of these people are homeless simply because they couldn't afford to live anywhere, a situation made worse by welfare cuts".

"The strategy sets out our ambitious plans for meeting housing need, preventing homelessness and meeting the needs of vulnerable people in the next three years". These numbers are snapshot counts and estimates but the most accurate we have to work with to inform local and national action.

"Services like StreetLink and No Second Night Out are helping people newly rough sleeping to move away from the streets quickly".

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As the official figures rise, homeless people have taken matters into their own hands, occupying empty buildings and setting up D.I.Y. night shelters.

Labour's shadow housing secretary, John Healey, branded the figures as "shameful" and "a awful reminder of the consequences of a Conservative Government".

Last autumn 4,751 rough sleepers were counted, a figure that has more than doubled in eight years.

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