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:
“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.”
The Salvation Army calls for the Government to:
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.