Saturday, 28 February 2015

Rough sleeping in England up by almost a quarter

The number of rough sleepers in England has risen by almost a quarter, according to the latest figures.

The Communities and Local Government department has today released its Rough Sleeping Statistics England paper which says that there were 2,181 people on the streets in autumn 2011.

The figure is a rise of 23 per cent from the autumn 2010 total, which said there were 1,768 rough sleepers in England.

The paper is the second annual statistical release following the introduction of revised guidance. Rough sleeping counts and estimates are single night snapshots of the number of people sleeping rough in local authority areas.

All 326 local housing authorities in England provided a figure with 53 councils providing a count and 273 an estimate.

London, the South East and the South West had the highest number of rough sleepers with 446, 430 and 337 respectively. The North East had the lowest number with 32.

Previous data from homelessness charity Broadway Combined Homelessness and Information Network shows that in 2010/11 there were 3,975 people seen sleeping rough in London - 8 per cent up on the previous year.

The data in CHAIN shows that of the 3,975 rough sleepers recorded, 52 per cent did not have UK nationality. Inside Housing reported in January on plans by eastern European embassies to support nationals sleeping rough in London to return home.

Today Grant Shapps, the housing minister, warned that people coming to the UK should make provisions to preventy them falling on tough times.

He said: ‘Non UK residents now account for over half the rough sleepers in our capital, so anyone heading here with tales of Dick Whittington in their head needs to realise that the streets of London and our other cities aren’t paved with gold. 

‘Those arriving from beyond our shores to try and carve out a future in England should come with a thought-through plan to avoid the risk of sleeping on the streets.’

The housing minister also pledged £18.5 million for councils to help tackle and prevent rough sleeping among single people, ensuring that nobody is turned away without clear and useful advice when they are most in need.

 Total of rough sleeping counts and estimates, by region, Autumn 2011

RegionTotalPercentage of England totalRate per 1,000 households
North East321.50.03
North West1496.80.05
Yorkshire and the Humber1506.90.07
East Midlands1888.60.10
West Midlands2079.50.09
East of England24211.10.10
South East43019.70.12
South West33715.50.15

Readers' comments (80)

  • Gavin Rider

    F451 - OK, I will admit it.

    I have denigrated hagfishes by likening them to F451.

    I apologise unreservedly for any offence this may have caused to any hagfish living now or in the future.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • F451

    Gavin, is this the comment that is causing you your latest wailing:

    'I did pick up during the week on an interview with Greek Students who will not now be planning to leave Britain for at least five years after graduation, dependent on how far social conditions are driven down at home. There you go Mr Taker, that should keep you frothing for a few weeks with or without me.'

    If so I make no apology on stating it as it was reported fact/opinion of those interviewed. Funnily enough I only mentioned it because I knew it would start you off on your little podium again - and Lo, you delivered.

    You can not even notice when you are being mocked now - how sad Mr Taker!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Once the single room rate for under 35s kicks in properly this is going to get a lot worse!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter Wicks

    A big proportion of these rough sleepers could be our armed forces Veterans who are being made redundant by the much for the covenant with our armed forces then...they only get noticed on poppy day!!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • F451

    I think they were hosed off the streets ahead of Poppy Day Peter - couldn't have them spoiling the camera shots along the Mall, could we!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter Wicks

    How ruddy true F451...and when the queen prances around London waving that automated life like arm at the crowds and the rich mans Olympics start....they will disappear completely in to the barbed wire, enclosures in the middle of Dartmoor...never to be seen again...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Joe Halewood


    Shapps has today announced that half of the 440 counted as sleeping rough in London are non-UK born. For Shapps to make that announcement it shows he is trying to deflect criticism away from the issue onto 'immigrants' That in my view is racist and even if you diagree with the racist tag, it is quite disgraceful for Shapps to (a) focus on this particluar issue and (b) to say that 'excellent' work is being doine in the 23% increase!! Yes he actually said that!!

    Hence you focusing upon this issue as a pre-judged one IS prejudicial and assumptive of you and does infer a racist overtone.

    Shapps conveniently doesnt mention that a minimum of 2200 homeless beds have been lost in the last two years - a report from Homeless Link today from just 500 providers, ie far from all - as given his own penchance for simple causation teh announcement of his of 2181 sleeping rough may cause some to put two and two together and make 4.

    I also note Shapps did not say how many rough sleepers outside of London were non-UK born as well. Why is that you think? Perhaps it wouldnt grab the racist headlines Shapps wants to make?

    All of the above arguments deflect from the real issue - that rough sleepers or at least those counted more accurately rose by 23%. That is a staggering increase and just as Gavin or Shapps may wish to deflect away from that point they shouldnt be allowed to do so as its simply disgraceful to try to pin blame on this on Johnny Foreigner.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • this is a bit like listening to children in the play ground. The trend shows an increase. It is also obvious that the national figure can only be indicative as it is based on estimates and counts that will be flawed in different ways. In some areas the figure will be too high, in others too low. The focus on immigrants is unfortunate and one might have hoped for greater emphasis on the humanity of rough sleeping regardless of nationality or recourse to public funds. The reality is ineligible rough sleeping is becoming an increasing issue. It is not a common issue across all boroughs, but there are pockets around the country where this has been a big problem. Local authorities need to operate services that provide housing options regardless of priority need assessments so that anyone genuinely homeless or at risk of homelessness receives help and guidance. They need to more adequately work in a joined up way with the third sector and be proactive in seeking out both duplication of effort and gaps in service - then plug them. There are increasing challenges on the horizon, but there are practical ways forward. The majority of posts here contribute nothing positive to the debate, and appear more motivated by ego than a commitment to helping anyone. Please reflect on this before you demean this significant issue any further.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rick Campbell

    “Welcome to the comments page where you can view all stories with user comments. Click on the headline to view the comments added and join the discussion."

    Those are the words of IH and the invitation is to join the discussion. There doesn't appear to be instructions that people have to be factually correct, proffer solutions or take orders/answer questions from other posters.

    I refer to the 'instructions' or lack of them to justify (wrong word) my comments below in case anyone wants to challenge what I say for whatever reason --

    -- it has been suggested to me that some people just can't abide me contributing and see me as a target for their amusement/bullying/whatever ...

    --- not an opinion I readily subscribe to.

    That will allow some posters to come on here and say something akin to "They choose to live rough" or some such claptrap. That said, I refer to an individual below who has chosen to ‘camp out’ so perhaps he doesn’t count as a rough sleeper as such.

    Personally, I am surprised the number is so low and I suspect there are a number who will have escaped 'detection'.

    Ten years or so ago, it was felt there were no rough sleepers in the borough -- I don't know the exact figures nowadays (the borough having vanished) but anecdotal evidence points to there being at least 3 rough sleepers in the immediate township alone (including a chap who 'camps out' in a large wooden box in a dugout in a field).

    The old borough contained two constituencies with 7 main areas of population and a number of villages covering 202 square miles -- the incumbent MP in one of those constituencies lives in Downing Street (rent free by the way) -- so there's no solutions going to be coming from him.

    The only solution I can proffer is there should be more accommodation to rent at a price that can be afforded and where there are rough sleepers there should be humanitarian facilities on offer.

    There's not really a lot of humanity about (if these threads are anything to go by) nowadays, apparently.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • F Magneto: "Once the single room rate for under 35s kicks in properly this is going to get a lot worse!!!"

    Will this apply to existing claimants, or will it apply to new claimants only.

    This is going to drive people into bedsits (HMOs), however many local authorities are anti-HMOs..... We seem to lack joined up thinking between local authorities and central government....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up




  • A light in the dark


    The Lighthouse Project in Wales provides support to those most in need. Reni Eddo-Lodge finds out more

  • A career fix

    19 June 2014

    Apprenticeships provided by construction firms are helping students straight out of school into employment. Stuart Spear takes a closer look at the opportunities available

  • After a fashion


    Regenda’s community apprentice scheme gives struggling tenants just the help they need.

  • Bringing a post office back into the community


    Much to the delight of the local people, Scottish Borders Housing Association has opened a Post Office at its headquarters in Bannerfield, the first ever branch outside a retail unit. Maria Brett reports on the initiative

IH Subscription