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On Tuesday 27 June, the CHAIN homelessness database published its annual report revealing levels of rough sleeping in London for the year from April 2022 to March 2023. CHAIN is the UK’s most detailed and comprehensive rough sleeping database.

Key findings are:

  • A total of 10,053 people were recorded sleeping rough in London in 2022/23, a 21% increase on the previous year.
  • 6,391 people were recorded as sleeping rough for the first time, a 26% annual increase.
  • Across the last ten years, the number of people recorded as sleeping rough on CHAIN has risen year on year, with the exceptions of 2017/18, and 2021/22.

Responding to the statistics, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:

“A 21% surge in the number of people forced to sleep rough in our capital city is categorically terrible. Everyone deserves a safe place to live and the support they need to keep it. However, this latest London data adds to our fears that the Government is going backwards on its pledge to end rough sleeping in England by 2024.*

“People continue to be failed by the systems they rely on to protect them. Whether this be a woman fleeing domestic abuse, a young person who has just left the care system, or someone simply struggling to pay their rent, despite all their efforts, they end up facing the trauma of sleeping rough.

“We can no longer ignore the increasing pressures of housing affordability. To turn the tide of rough sleeping, it is vital that the Government unfreezes the Local Housing Allowance so that housing benefit covers at least the lowest third of rents in the capital. They must also commit to build enough social housing to ensure everyone has access to a good quality and genuinely affordable home.

“We remain deeply concerned about the financial position of homelessness services across the country, with many telling us they have scaled back to cut costs. The Government must act now, granting a funding uplift for homelessness support, in line with inflation, to prevent services from closing altogether. If it does not, we risk leaving people without safe and trusted support and accommodation providers to turn to, and many of those already housed facing the trauma of returning to the streets.”