Chain data


Annual CHAIN Report 2023/24

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) has released its annual report for April 2023 to March 2024. Outreach teams recorded 11,993 people sleeping rough in London during this period. This marks a significant 19% increase from last year’s total of 10,053. Additionally, this is a 58% rise from a decade ago in 2014/15, which stood at 7,581 rough sleepers.

For the first time in CHAIN’s history, the number of people recorded sleeping rough in a single month exceeded 2,000. Both September and November 2023 saw this milestone, highlighting a worrying trend in the increasing visibility of homelessness.

The report reveals a shift in the demographics of rough sleepers. For the first time, more rough sleepers came from non-European countries (Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australasia) than from Europe (excluding the UK). Specifically, 30% were from these regions, compared to 25% from Europe. UK nationals made up 45% of the rough sleeping population, with Romanians being the largest non-UK group at 9%.

The majority of rough sleepers were male (84%) and aged between 26 and 55 (79%). The proportion of those aged 25 or under remained steady at 9%, while those aged 35 or under increased slightly to 38% from 35% the previous year.

A significant 17% of new rough sleepers had previously been in asylum support accommodation before ending up on the streets. This year, 7,974 people slept rough for the first time, a 25% increase from 2022/23. Of these, 70% were seen rough sleeping only once.

Westminster reported the highest number of rough sleepers, with 2,102 people (18% of the total). All but six of the 33 London boroughs saw increases in rough sleeping. In the boroughs we work in, Croydon had 449 people sleeping rough, Lambeth had 681, and Kensington & Chelsea had 226. Additionally, 118 people were recorded rough sleeping on buses, and 14 on the London Underground.

With the country preparing to vote in the general elections next 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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