15% increase in rough sleeping in 2017
The 2017 rough sleeping statistics show homelessness is continuing to rise at an alarming rate in the UK.
The figures for England and Wales, released by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, show a 15% increase in rough sleeping from 2016, which is a 169% increase since reporting began in 2010.
Simon Grainge, Chief Executive for homelessness charity, Emmaus UK, said: “These figures are unlikely to surprise anyone. You only have to walk through the streets of our towns and cities to see the huge numbers of people now living on the streets.
“And we know these figures are only a snapshot of what is actually a much more desperate situation. The counts are carried out on one night in one very specific area, so they don’t take into consideration the people who are living out of public view or sofa surfing.
“Becoming homeless is about more than just losing the roof over your head, once someone ends up on the streets the damage caused is both immediate and profound. It can have a devastating impact on both physical and mental health, destroying self-esteem and creating much bigger long term issues.
“Something drastic has to change if we are to stop this epidemic of homelessness, strengthening the safety net and stopping people ending up in a vulnerable housing situation in the first place.”
The 2017 figures show that:
- 4,751 people slept rough in England on a snapshot night in autumn 2017. This is up by 15% from the autumn 2016 total of 4,134. Rough sleeping has increased by 169% since reporting began in 2010.
- There were 1,137 rough sleepers in London. This is an increase of 18% from the 2016 figure of 964. London accounted for 24% of the total England figure, a slight increase on 23% in 2016.
- Rough sleeping in the rest of England was up by 14% from the 2016 figure. 48% of this increase was due to increases reported by eight local authorities, including five with an Emmaus community in their area: Brighton and Hove, Medway, Oxford, Tameside (Mossley) and Salford. The remaining three local authorities reporting high increases in rough sleeping were the coastal areas of Southend-on-Sea, Worthing and Eastbourne.
- 14% of people sleeping rough were women and 8% were aged under 25.
- Nationally, 20% of people sleeping rough were non-UK nationals. However, in London, this figure stood at 40%, compared with 14% in the rest of England.
The figures are based on a street count or estimate of the number of people sleeping rough in each local authority area in England on a single night between 1 October and 30 November. The figures are, as a result, only an indication of the actual numbers of people sleeping rough each year.