Tackle reasons more Londoners sleeping rough
published on 28 Apr 2023
As the number of rough sleepers in London jumps 14% in the last year, The Salvation Army is calling on the Government to urgently tackle the underlying reasons people are forced to live on the streets.
Despite the Government’s pledge to end rough sleeping in the UK by 2024, The Combined Homelessness & Information Network (CHAIN)*, which monitors levels of rough sleeping in London found that:
- Of the 3107 people recorded as sleeping rough between January and March 2023, two thirds (67%) reported problems with mental health, drugs or alcohol.
- Nearly half, 1490 people, were sleeping rough for the first time, up 15% compared to the same period last year.
Nathan Slinn, Assistant Director of Homelessness Services at The Salvation Army, said:
“These figures show the progress made to end rough sleeping during the pandemic are returning to pre pandemic levels. Sleeping rough can be dangerous, causing harm and leading to a deterioration in mental and physical health. The Government made a pledge to put an end to rough sleeping by 2024, however the number of people forced to live on the streets keeps rising.
“To end rough sleeping, it’s essential to invest in services that help people tackle the root causes that forced them onto the streets in the first place.
“People often end up sleeping rough because of abuse, trauma, addiction, or poor mental health. However, support services that help overcome these problems have endured a decade of cuts and cannot meet increasing demand. The Salvation Army is calling for the funding the Government has pledged to end rough sleeping to be prioritised for support services, especially mental health and addiction treatment.
“We know the Government has made a serious commitment, backed by considerable funds, to end rough sleeping. We also know that there is limited financial resource available to tackle the high demand. That is why we are asking for investment in the support and prevention services that help people break the cycle of homelessness.”
We are calling for:
- The funding the Government has pledged to end rough sleeping to be prioritised for support services, especially mental health and addiction treatment.
- Mental health and addiction support to become part of local authority homelessness strategies.
- Local targets to be set for the number of homeless people that are provided with mental health and addiction support alongside existing targets for accommodation.
- Funding for homelessness and rough sleeping services to be increased in line with inflation so it doesn’t lose its original value.