How many rough sleepers are in London? Sadiq Khan announces £2m of new funding for services

The increase in homelessness has mainly been in the South and North-West of England (PA Archive)
The increase in homelessness has mainly been in the South and North-West of England (PA Archive)

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced £2m of further funding for rough sleeping services in the capital, to help people sleeping on London’s transport network.

Reports have estimated that the number of people rough sleeping in England recently increased for the first time since 2017.

The Government released its Ending rough sleeping for good strategy in September, which aimed to uphold its manifesto vow to eradicate rough sleeping in this Parliament. The surge has been dubbed a “massive, collective failure" by one homelessness charity.

Rick Henderson, chief executive at Homeless Link, which is the national membership charity for front line homelessness organisations, said the rise of more than a quarter year on year since 2021 “is evidence of how the cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated long-standing drivers of homelessness”.

He said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to live and the support they need to keep it. This shocking rise in the number of people sleeping rough represents a massive, collective failure. People are being let down by systems that should protect them, forced onto the streets at the expense of their physical and mental health.”

How many homeless people are there in London?

There were 858 people in 2022 estimated to be sleeping rough in the capital on a single night compared with 640 people in 2021, an increase of 218.

In England, 3,069 people were counted as rough sleepers on a single night last autumn, according to annual government figures. The rate of people sleeping rough on a single night in England in 2022 was 5.4 people per 100,000 – up from 4.3 per 100,000 in 2021 but lower than the 8.5 per 100,000 in 2017.

Almost half, 47 per cent, of all people sleeping rough on a single night in autumn are in London and the South-East, the Government said.

Over half of the year-on-year increase in rough sleepers is accounted for by 15 local authorities: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; City of London; Cornwall; Croydon; Haringey; Hillingdon; Leicester; Liverpool; Manchester; Newham; Reading; Southampton; Waltham Forest; Westminster and Worthing.

Across these 15 authorities, the number of rough sleepers rose by 326 – 52 per cent of the total increase for the whole of England. The biggest numerical increase was in Westminster, up by 63 from 187 to 250, followed by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (up by 35 from 29 to 64), Leicester (up by 26 from eight to 34) and the City of London (up by 23 from 20 to 43).

As in previous years, men over 26 from the UK make up the majority of those living on the streets in England.

How to help rough sleepers

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 who you have seen sleeping rough in London, you can use StreetLink. StreetLink London exists to help end rough sleeping in the capital by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

If you think the person you are concerned about is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, call 999.