The number of homeless people on London’s streets has risen by a fifth in just a year, new figures show.
A Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) report found that between April 2022 and March 2023, 10,053 people slept on London’s streets.
That number increased nearly 21% from 8,329 in the same period last year.
The number of people sleeping outside for the first time has also risen by a quarter, leading London Mayor Sadiq Khan to describe the rise as “extremely alarming”.
The number of first-time sleepers in London rose to 6,391 – an increase of almost 26% compared to 5,091 in the same period in 2021/22.
The same report found that 2,084 people were spotted sleeping outdoors for at least two years in a row.
About 1,578 people returned to the streets after not sleeping outdoors for more than a year.
The number of people in this situation increased by almost a third (31%) from 1,205 in the previous year.
What is the legal definition of homelessness?
The legal definition of homelessness is that a household has no available home and cannot reasonably be expected to live in it.
Restless sleep is one type of homelessness, but there are other types of homelessness, such as living in temporary housing, living in substandard housing, or staying with family and friends in what is known as sofa surfing.
Despite earlier progress, Mr Khan said: “Extraordinary financial pressures are putting London’s poorest at a growing risk of homelessness” and reiterated that he would like the Government to give him powers to introduce rent controls.
He added that ministers “must get a grip on the cost of living crisis and restore the social security safety net that keeps people from falling into a cycle of homelessness”.
“They also need to invest in new social housing and really affordable housing and bring London housing benefit rates back to the 30th percentile of market rents.”
The government released its Ending Rough Sleeping For Good strategy in September, reaffirming its 2019 manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this parliamentary term.
Prince William launched a campaign to end homelessness this week.
He announced the first flagship area where he hopes to end homelessness with his Homewards project.
Lambeth is one of six areas where new partnerships between communities, businesses, charities and individuals will be forged over the course of the five-year initiative.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education, Housing and Communities previously welcomed the Prince’s initiative to end homelessness.
“We are making £2 billion available over three years to local authorities to help them tackle homelessness and poor sleep, targeting those areas where it is most needed,” she said.
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