New figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show that there was a steep rise in rough sleeping in the last quarter of last year.
Outreach teams recorded a total of 3570 people sleeping on London’s streets from October to December 2022. This constitutes a 29% increase when compared with the same period the year before.
Furthermore, there was a 21% rise in the number of people who were sleeping rough for the first time. This group now represents 48% of the overall total.
These figures are extremely concerning, and show a reversal of previous progress made in tackling rough sleeping. They also demonstrate just how precarious and insecure housing has become for many people in the capital.
The cost-of-living crisis has created huge financial pressures, and alongside that there have been sharp increases in average rents and a reduction in available housing stock. The results are clear to see, with many people being pushed into homelessness for the first time because of these extraordinary circumstances.
Jeremy, CEO of Evolve said:
“It is very troubling to see rough sleeping numbers increase as they have done, especially in light of the progress that was made reducing street homelessness over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are lots of factors which feed into these statistics, but chief among them is the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, which is causing enormous difficulties for many and pushing some into homelessness. In particular, the number of people sleeping rough for the first time shows that many who have never been homeless before are finding themselves in uniquely difficult circumstances.
Sleeping on the streets is a deeply uncomfortable, scary and often traumatic experience. We will continue doing everything we can to support anybody who experiences this.”