Advertisement
Housing

The number of people living on London’s streets has risen by 20% in a year

The figures released by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) highlight the scale of the issue in England’s capital.

The number of people living long-term on London’s streets has increased by 19 per cent in a year, new statistics show.

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) figures show 491 people were deemed to be living on the capital’s streets between October and November last year. A person is deemed to be living on the streets if they have had a “high number of contacts over three weeks or more which suggests they are living on the streets”. 

During this period, outreach teams also recorded 2,949 people sleeping rough in the capital for at least one night. 

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis described the figures as being “unacceptable and entirely preventable”.’

“What’s most concerning is the rise in people who are living on the streets – meaning they are bedding down on the streets night after night. Sadly, we know all too well that people who are living on the streets often face multiple challenges to ending their homelessness, including health needs such as mental health,” he said.

The Chain statistics revealed that homelessness disproportionately affected men, with more than half of rough sleepers in London suffering from mental health problems.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Big Issue Foundation

Donate to support vendors today

Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.

“We welcome this data that indicates a general decrease of people sleeping rough in London, but we’re very concerned about the increase of 19% of people living in the streets since the same period last year. We collectively need to find a way to reach out to and find solutions for everybody, even individuals who are harder to reach. No one should have to live in the streets of London” said Neil Parkinson, co-head of casework at Glass Door.

Despite the reported increase in those living long-term on the streets, the statistics showed the total number of people seen sleeping rough was down by 11 per cent. 

Of the 1,314 people recorded by the outreach team as sleeping rough for the first time, 75 per cent spent just one night sleeping rough. Some 22 per cent slept rough for more than one night, but did not go on to live on the streets.

Article continues below

A spokesperson for mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the reduction in people sleeping rough was encouraging, and highlighted more than 8,000 people had been placed in accommodation during the pandemic.

But they added:  “Now, ministers must take note of the benefits of taking a joined-up approach and provide further investment in supported housing and bespoke interventions. The government must do more to support people who have spent long periods on the streets, whose numbers have risen during the pandemic – to ensure that those with highest support needs are able to access the accommodation and wraparound support needed to allow them to rebuild their lives.”

Balbir Chatrik, director of policy and communications at Centre Point, a leading charity for young people, said: “Regardless of any improving trends there are still far too many people left with no option but to sleep on the streets. We really need to see leadership from central government here: it’s clear that local authorities and charities need more money and better-structured resources to tackle rough sleeping and Whitehall’s piecemeal approach to homelessness funding fails to provide that.”

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
The Welsh government is now offering to buy homes affected by the cladding crisis
Building Safety Crisis

The Welsh government is now offering to buy homes affected by the cladding crisis

Three quarters of Brits back rent controls to solve England’s housing crisis
Renting

Three quarters of Brits back rent controls to solve England’s housing crisis

Help to Build scheme asks Brits to tackle the housing crisis – but ‘won’t reach those in need’
Housing crisis

Help to Build scheme asks Brits to tackle the housing crisis – but ‘won’t reach those in need’

What are homeless hostels?
Homelessness

What are homeless hostels?

Most Popular

Read All
Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff
1.

Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'
3.

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself
4.

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.