Rough Sleeping Numbers Surge in London

Over three thousand people recorded as being on the streets

new rough sleepers comprising 1700 of the total recorded
New rough sleepers comprising 1700 of the total recorded

February 3, 2023

The number of rough sleepers in London has jumped by 21 per cent in a year, as rising bills force hundreds more people onto the city’s streets.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the figure was “extremely concerning and further evidence of the devastating fallout from the cost of living crisis”.

The newly-released figures for rough sleeping in the capital, which span October to December 2022, were published by City Hall on Tuesday morning (31 January).

A total of 3570 people were recorded on the streets by outreach teams in that period, up from 2949 people in October to December 2021.

The highest numbers were found in the City of London, Westminster and the South Bank, with high concentrations also seen in Woolwich, Stratford and at Heathrow.

The data shows an especially severe increase in the number of people sleeping rough for the first time, with new rough sleepers comprising 1700 of the total recorded.

That figure of 1700 new rough sleepers was 29 per cent higher than in the same three-month period last year.

Most of that number (1269 people) slept rough for just one night, before finding or being given some accommodation.

The overwhelming majority of the latest total recorded were men, who made up about 83 per cent of the cohort.

Around 48 per cent were UK nationals, with Romanians making up the second largest number (13.3 per cent) and Polish people third-placed (6.9 per cent).

Mr Khan said, “I’m doing everything in my power to help those who find themselves out on the streets. Since I became mayor, City Hall services have helped a record 13,500 people, with the vast majority not seen sleeping rough again, and I’ve quadrupled our rough sleeping budget.

“Despite this progress, extraordinary financial pressures are putting the poorest Londoners at growing risk of homelessness and we continue to see a revolving door of people ending up homeless because of soaring costs.

“These figures demonstrate that we need much more support from central Government if we’re to end rough sleeping in London and nationwide. It is high time ministers got a grip on the escalating food, energy and housing crises and restored the social security safety net which helps stop people becoming trapped in a cycle of homelessness.

“To do this, ministers must first fulfil their manifesto pledge to end no fault eviction for private renters and invest in new council and genuinely affordable homes to help prevent more Londoners from becoming homeless in the first place.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was approached for comment.

Noah Vickers - Local Democracy Reporter