London rough sleeper numbers rise


Governement figures show an 8% rise during 2010/2011 on the previous year.


 By Marc Sobbohi

The number of rough sleepers in London during 2010/2011 rose 8% on the previous year, according to government figures released last week.

With homelessness charity Crisis fearing the worst is yet to come, doubts must be cast on Mayor Boris Johnson’s aim to make sure no one is living on the streets of London by the end of 2012.

‘No second night out’ is a project forming a major part of Mayor Johnson’s plans to combat homelessness in London.

The project helped 135 rough sleepers come off the street within 10 weeks of it’s launch in April.

However, despite major projects like these, it seems the government cuts and economic downturn are increasing homelessness, rather than preventing it.

Recent figures also show a 17% national rise in homelessness on the same quarter year last year, increasing fears the problem will only get worse.

Duncan Shrubscole, Director of Policy at Crisis, said: “The Government’s homelessness figures prove once again we now face a sustained increase in homelessness but, worryingly, research for Crisis predicts the worst is yet to come. 

The pressures of the economic downturn combined with the Government’s cuts to housing, benefits and homelessness services seem certain to increase all forms of homelessness, from rough sleepers on our streets to homeless people hidden out of sight.”

Rob Alford sleeps rough in Kensington and believes those left homeless due to alcohol addiction cannot afford the support they need to get off the street.

“There is nowhere for people to receive detox treatment due to the government cuts. People have no chance,” he said.

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