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Latest data Croydon street

Posted30.04.24

Rough sleeping in London increases 33% in a year

The latest data released by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) shows a drop in rough sleeping figures in the short term, but a continued upwards trend.

During the period January-March 2024 outreach teams recorded 4118 individuals sleeping rough in London. Although this is a six percent decrease from the previous quarter. It represents a 33% increase compared to the same period the previous year.

Of particular concern is that almost half of those counted, 49%, were experiencing rough sleeping for the first time. This translates to 2,038 individuals newly facing the harsh realities of London’s streets. Marking a concerning 37% increase from the prior year. 74% of these new rough sleepers spent only a single night sleeping rough. While 23% endured more than one night without transitioning to long-term street living. 3% were deemed to be living on the streets. This highlights how early outreach and interventions can help to prevent long-term homelessness.

511 individuals were classified as living on the streets long-term. This reflects a 9% decrease from the previous quarter but a 36% increase from the same period last year. This count encompasses both individuals newly experiencing rough sleeping in London and those belonging to the RS205+ cohort. RS205+ refers to individuals with a history of prolific rough sleeping. Prolonged exposure to homelessness exacerbates physical and mental health issues. Making it exceedingly difficult for these individuals to break free from the cycle of rough sleeping.

The data also shows a 30% increase in the number of people under the age of 25 sleeping rough compared to the prior year. This highlights the growing difficulties faced by young people in finding permanent housing, and demonstrates the need for focused interventions and targeted support systems to tackle this concerning trend.

A significant factor contributing to the increase in rough sleeping is the rise in the number of individuals from outside the UK experiencing homelessness in London. While the proportion of UK rough sleepers has decreased, non-UK nationals now constitute nearly 57% of London’s rough sleeping population.

With Londoners preparing to vote in the Mayoral elections later this week, it is up to those elected to make ending homelessness a priority. It is essential that we continue to support outreach teams, homelessness organisations, and local authorities working tirelessly to address this issue. Find out how you can help here.

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