Posted by: Emily Twinch26/06/2012
Rough sleeping figures for London are thought to be out this week and charities are expecting big rises.
When homelessness charity Broadway released the figures last month it showed 648 people had slept rough in the capital in the two months before 30 April, a 73 per cent rise from the same period the year before.
Although the figures showed that 515 of the people that came onto the streets had no second night out, there were still 468 people who returned to the streets in those two months after a period away. There were still 133 of new people on the streets who had a second night out and 223 (up 23 per cent from the same period the year before) were counted as ‘living on the streets’ [entrenched rough sleepers, or in danger of becoming so].
The mayor’s team at City Hall were not pleased when Inside Housing suggested they might have to ‘lower the bar’ to hit Boris Johnson’s aim of ending rough sleeping by the end of this year. But might they now have to admit this will be necessary to hit the target? Or at least admit – with rising figures in the year they aim to end rough sleeping - that target is going to be impossible to hit. There is a chance they may stop people ending up on the streets a second night, especially now as they are planning a second hub – where rough sleepers can be taken to find them accommodation - is soon to be set up. But they can not stop people (‘flowing’) onto the streets, and it appears they can not stop people who want to live on the streets staying there – and returning.
Perhaps eyes should turn to Scotland to find out what they are doing right there? Scottish homelessness figures came out today (not rough sleeping, but they can have a knock on effect) and they do provide a stark contrast to the English figures. Scottish figures are going down, whilst English figures sharply rise.
Is it something to do with housing being higher up on the political agenda in Scotland, an emphasis on preventing homelessness in that country? Every one waits with baited breath for Grant Shapp’s inter-departmental ministerial working group to produce its strategy on preventing homelessness. It was expected to come out this month, but now appears to have been delayed until next month. At least.
Maybe we can expect to see homelessness and rough sleeping figures in this country start to fall soon after it comes out. Maybe. Or (more likely) maybe not.
From Who cares?
Analysis of the latest developments in supported housing, homelessness and work with vulnerable people