Increase in homelessness on London streets amid cost of living crisis, new data shows

·2-min read
A man sleeping in the street (stock image)  (PA Archive)
A man sleeping in the street (stock image) (PA Archive)

The cost of living crisis has caused an increase in the number of people sleeping rough in London, a leading homelessness charity has said.

New figures released Friday by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) shows that between April and June 2022 almost 3,000 people were observed sleeping rough in the capital.

This is an increase of nearly a quarter compared to the same period in 2021, and an increase of 16% on the previous three months in 2022.

Around half of those rough sleepers were doing so for the first time.

St Mungo’s said the new statistics were “concerning but not surprising”.

The charity’s Director of Rough Sleeping, Petra Salva, said: “Our expert teams are out every day – morning and night – across London and we have seen the numbers of people on the streets creeping up.

“The end of the increased accommodation support measures provided during the pandemic, and the effect of the cost of living crisis are clear to see.

“And the fear is that the situation will get only worse – especially when you consider the number of households who are at real risk of losing their homes is also increasing.”

The data also shows the total number of people defined as ‘Living on the Streets’ has increased by 13% on the previous quarter.

This means they now account for more than one in ten people who are street homeless in London.

However, almost three quarters of people who were new to the streets were supported with a place to stay before they had to spend a second night sleeping rough, the data shows.

“The fact that the percentage of people prevented from spending a second night out remains relatively consistent at around 75%, despite the actual number of people rising, is testament to the hard work and dedication of the outreach and No Second Night Out teams across London,” said Ms Salva.

CHAIN is commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and is the UK’s most detailed source of information about rough sleeping.

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