24% rise in rough sleepers in London, latest CHAIN stats show

published on 31 Oct 2022

The Salvation Army is preparing to support growing numbers of rough sleepers through winter as new figures show a shocking rise in people sleeping rough. 

The latest quarterly figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) show a rise of 24 % in the numbers of people sleeping rough compared with the same time last year. 

The CHAIN stats also show an across the board rise in new rough sleepers, those living on the streets and those intermittently sleeping rough. In particular, according to the stats:

  • Between July to September 2022, there were 1844 new rough sleepers
  • 72% of those found to be sleeping rough had a support need for alcohol, drugs or mental health.

Salvation Army Director of the Homeless Services Unit, Nick Redmore, said:

“This is a very worrying surge in people forced to sleep on the streets. The Salvation Army are concerned that as winter approaches, these numbers are going to grow.  The cost of living crisis means that more people are struggling to pay for basics, which includes rent so more people could be faced with homelessness, which can in time also mean an increase in rough sleeping.

“We will be supporting rough sleepers across the country by providing emergency beds, outreach services, drop ins and practical help like hot meals. The Salvation Army is committed to ending rough sleeping.

“The Government has made considerable investment in homelessness services, so we know they see the scale of the problem. The key thing is where to spend that money to have the maximum impact. Our recent report showed how helping people with the root causes of their rough sleeping is key. This means ring fencing this funding for addiction and mental health support services. 

“Targeting funds in the right place is especially important as rising inflation erodes the value of funding to end rough sleeping, and is another issue the Government should urgently address.”

TSA is calling for the Government to:  

  • Introduce robust recording of rough sleeper numbers so that support services can be sufficiently planned and funded.
  • Reverse its freeze on the value of Local Housing Allowance rates to enable people claiming Universal Credit or housing benefit to afford to rent at least three in every ten of the most affordable properties in any given area.   

The London CHAIN figures are the only data in England that measures rough sleeping. Robust methods for recording numbers of rough sleepers for the whole country are needed, so that support services can be properly planned and sufficiently funded.  



Man homeless on street

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