Homeless Link responds to figures that show rough sleeping is rising in the capital

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 - 11:44am

Data released today (Wednesday 19 June 2019) from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) database shows that 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2018/19, which is an 18 per cent increase compared to the total of 7,484 people seen in 2017/18.

Of these:

  • 5,529 were new people sleeping rough. This is a 24 per cent increase on the year before.
  • 2,080 people seen rough sleeping in 2018/19 were people who had also been seen rough sleeping the year before. This is a 9 per cent increase on the numbers in this group the year before.

Homeless Link's Chief Executive, Rick Henderson, commented:

“These figures are truly upsetting, but sadly not surprising. It reflects what we hear from our members  – outreach teams and frontline homelessness services are working under an ever-increasing amount of pressure with a rise in the number of people needing their support.  

“These aren’t just numbers but are people who have been let down by the wider system. Sleeping rough is extremely dangerous and detrimental to physical and mental health and people are dying on our streets as a result.

“The fact that there has been an increase in both new people sleeping rough and a rise in those that have been living on the streets for a long time shows a system that is under strain in a multitude of ways. Because we are failing to tackle the root causes of homelessness and the ongoing impact of cuts to homelessness services we are not sufficiently preventing people arriving on the streets in the first place or able to effectively support people to move on from homelessness for good.

“We can, and must, reverse these trends. To do so we need political will and long-term, sustainable funding that truly addresses the structural causes of homelessness and rough sleeping. With the upcoming Spending Review we urge the Government to take action across every department – urgently invest in and build significantly more genuinely affordable housing, ensure the benefits system supports people properly, introduce measures that effectively tackle poverty and reinvest in services to ensure that everyone has a home and the support they need to keep it.”