Rough sleeping figures rise by 73 per cent
The number of rough sleepers on the streets of London has risen significantly again, according to figures from a homelessness charity.
Broadway’s figures were released yesterday (21 May) and show the number of new people on the streets of London in the two months to 30 April shot up by 73 per cent from the same period last year. This contributed to a 31 per cent year on year rise in the total number of rough sleepers, to 1,442.
The number of new rough sleepers was up 22 per cent on the previous two months, to 648, although 515 of these did not spend a second night on the streets. This is currently a nationwide aim being pushed by the government.
The Broadway data comes after figures from the Communities and Local Government department, released in February, showed the number of rough sleepers in England rose by 23 per cent from autumn 2010 to autumn 2011 – from 1,768 to 2,181.
Mike McCall, homelessness charity St Mungo’s executive director of operations, said: ‘These are yet another set of very worrying figures. Every local council in London needs to put homelessness at the top of its agenda. The imperative is not just a stronger safety net, but also clear pathways away from the streets.’
Darren Johnson, London Assembly green party member, attacked the mayor of London Boris Johnson’s goal of ending rough sleeping in the capital by the end of this year. ‘The Mayor’s aim of ending rough sleeping is a distant dream if things continue in this direction,’ he said. ‘I want to shake out his complacency and make him realise just how dire London’s housing situation is, just how big a change of direction we need.’
Homelessness charity Crisis said: ‘This is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands more will be getting by in hidden homeless situations, sleeping on the floors of friends and family, in squats or other insecure accommodation.’
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