Board to miss target to eradicate rough sleeping as data shows 43% rise
Calls to overhaul failing London Delivery board
Homelessness sector bosses have called on the London mayor to shake up the board charged with eradicating rough sleeping in the capital.
Boris Johnson set up the London Delivery Board in February 2009 to end rough sleeping in London by the end of 2012, but it is now widely expected to fail.
Statistics released in June from London-based homelessness charity Broadway showed rough sleeping in the capital had shot up 43 per cent to 5,678 in 2011/12 compared with the previous year.
The board is made up of 23 organisations including the London mayor Mr Johnson, central government, local authorities, police and voluntary sector providers. It meets to discuss ways to tackle rough sleeping, set targets and implement strategies.
The board’s No Second Night Out scheme, which aims to stop first time rough sleepers spending a second night out on the streets, was deemed a success with just 16 per cent of those people who accessed the scheme returning to the streets. Although homelessness charities do not want the board to be abolished, they say a new strategy is needed in the face of the sharp rise in rough sleeping.
Rick Henderson, the new chief executive of umbrella-group Homeless Link, added: ‘The London Delivery Board needs to step up its efforts if we are going to avoid returning to the bad old days of very high rough sleeping numbers in London. It needs to be much more proactive.’
‘We need to think about what the purpose of that group is and if necessary reconfigure it,’ Howard Sinclair, chief executive of Broadway, said.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of charity Thames Reach, argued some councils should be replaced and representatives from different government departments involved. He also said attendance should be mandatory for some board members such as the police and UK Border Agency.
‘There are boroughs [on the board] where there are no rough sleepers,’ he said. ‘And others where there are lots of rough sleepers. A profile change needs to reflect what we need from the group [now].’
The Greater London Authority declined to comment.