Rough sleeping in England up 55% in five years

Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 10:14am

Government figures published today, show that the estimated number of people sleeping rough in England has increased by 55% since 2010.  


According to the statistics, 2,744 people were estimated by local authorities to be sleeping rough on any one night in 2014. In 2010, this figure stood at 1,768 and it has risen every year since. Homeless Link is calling for the Government to invest in services to prevent people losing their homes and help those on the streets towards recovery.

North East England has seen the biggest percentage increase in rough sleeping since last year. This is followed by the London, the North West of England and the South West– all of which have seen rough sleeping increases above the national average.

Responding to the rise in rough sleeping, our CEO Rick Henderson said:

We should ask ourselves why it is acceptable that anyone has to sleep rough in Britain today. What’s even more shocking is that the number of people in this situation has risen every year since 2010.

“Sleeping rough is dangerous and bad for your health. It is damaging to individuals and communities. The longer someone sleeps out, the worse their problems will become and the more costly to resolve once they get help.

“The hard work of many local services to help new rough sleepers as quickly as possible shows that we can turn this situation around. Unfortunately, many charities have seen funding fall at the very time that demand for help is on the rise.

“To turn the tide, politicians need to make sure the right support is available in every area so that no one has to live on our streets.”

In 2012, the Government called on every local authority to adopt the ‘No Second Night Out’ standard by putting in place the right services to help new rough sleepers off the streets quickly. This was backed by £20m in grants given out to local homelessness charities – funding that is due to come to an end in March 2015

Evidence suggests that No Second Night Out projects resulted in more rough sleepers being found more quickly by services. A review of 20 services found that in total, 67% of rough sleepers worked with were taken off the streets after the first night that they were found, and the majority of these rough sleepers (78% of this group) did not return to the streets once helped.

Rick Henderson went on to say:

“We also need a much stronger focus on prevention. All too often those at risk of rough sleeping don’t know where to turn and, when they do seek help, they don’t get the support they need.”

In January, we and our members called on politicians to commit to end rough sleeping. As part of our manifesto to end homelessness, we set out a series of steps that the next Government can take to help achieve this.

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Stephen Holland

Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.

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