Sleeping Rough: Greater London

(asked on 12th February 2015) - View Source

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimate of the number of people sleeping rough in Greater London; and how many places in hostels are available for homeless adults in that area.

Answered by
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
This question was answered on 27th February 2015

The annual Rough Sleeping Statistics for England reports rough sleeping counts and estimates provided by local authorities and represent single night snapshots of the number of people sleeping rough in their area between 1 October and 30 November. In 2014 there were 742 rough sleepers in local authority areas in London:

The Department does not hold information regarding the number of places in hostels for rough sleepers in London.

This Government has increased investment in homelessness services over the lifetime of this Parliament. We have invested over £500 million to support local authorities and voluntary sector agencies help the most vulnerable in our society. This includes £34 million to the Greater London Authority to tackle rough sleeping across London.

We have recently put in place funding and support to prevent single homelessness and help those at risk of rough sleeping. The £8 million Help for Single Homeless Fund will help 22,000 people with multiple needs across 168 local authorities and the innovative £15 million Fair Chance Fund programme will change the lives of around 1,600 homeless young people with high needs and at risk of falling through the net of existing services. We have also supported Crisis with nearly £14 million in funding that by 2016 will have helped around 10,000 vulnerable single people to access and sustain accommodation in the private rented sector.

Thousands of vulnerable people who have slept rough or faced with the prospect of doing so have been given the help they need through No Second Night Out and StreetLink initiatives.

The No Second Night Out initiative has actively sought to identify and then help more rough sleepers, uncovering rough sleeping which was previously hidden or under-reported. This is in contrast to the counts under the last Administration which systematically under-estimated or ignored the true level of rough sleeping.

By using StreetLink, the national telephone, digital and app service, the public can help connect rough sleepers to the local services available so they can get the help they need to get them off the streets. This has already resulted in 23,000 referrals of rough sleepers to local authorities for investigation. We have also supported No Second Night Out schemes nationally through the £20 million Homelessness Transition Fund for the voluntary sector ensuring rough sleepers are found quickly and that they do not spend more than one night on the street.

According to CHAIN (Combined Homeless and Information Network) data, the majority of rough sleepers in London are foreign nationals. My Department's activities have included education campaigns led by the voluntary sector warning those coming here without appropriate support about the dangers of ending up destitute and sleeping rough on our streets. European Economic Area nationals who are begging or sleeping rough will be administratively removed. From the beginning of the year they will then be barred from re-entry for 12 months, unless they can prove they have a proper reason to be here, such as a job.

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