23% Rise in Rough Sleeping, As Cuts Hit Homeless Services

Homeless Link calls on councils to halt cuts and invest more in prevention as Government figures show a dramatic rise in rough sleeping.

Figures published today by the Department for Communities of Communities and Local Government show that rough sleeping numbers have increased by 23% in the last year.

Responding to the news, Matt Harrison, Interim Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for 500 homelessness charities, said:

“The dramatic rise in rough sleeping is depressing but not unexpected.

“For some time, our members have been reporting that more people are seeking help and many are struggling to meet demand.

“This comes at a time when reduced funding has already hit services and further cuts are expected this year.

“Our research indicates that there are now fewer projects, fewer beds and more of our members are turning people away because they are full.

“Councils need to ensure that they protect critical services for the most vulnerable and do more to prevent people from ending up on the streets in the first place."

A Homeless Link survey of 500 services and a review of the sector (due to be published in March) indicate that:

  • In the last year 75 homelessness projects have closed, in the last two years we have lost 2206 bed spaces in hostels and other accommodation services
  • The number of services that do not have an empty bed on an average night has increased from 77% to 83%
  • 58% of projects have had their budgets cut in the last year.
  • 55% of projects have been told by councils to expect further cuts.

Earlier this week the Government wrote to all local authorities with guidance developed by Homeless Link, Crisis and other organisations on how to provide better advice and assistance to people who find themselves homeless. They also announced extra funding to help tackle and prevent rough sleeping.

Matt Harrison said: “We welcome the extra money from Government. Investment in tackling rough sleeping not only benefits individuals but saves society money in the long-term.”

To see the figures, click here.