02 Nov 2022

Latest figures show worrying increase in people sleeping rough for the first time

The latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) report, published on 30 October 2022, has shown a worrying increase in the numbers of people in London sleeping rough, particularly people sleeping rough for the first time.

The CHAIN reports are published quarterly and record information about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London. Information is derived from the 'Combined Homelessness and Information Network' (CHAIN), a database commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and managed by Homeless Link.

In the period July-September 2022 outreach teams recorded:

  • 1,844 people in London sleeping rough for the first time, 35% higher than for the same period last year
  • 481 people defined as ‘living on the streets’, an increase of 17% on the previous three months and 13% on the same period last year
  • 625 women sleeping rough, an increase of 25% on the previous three months.

CIH’s view

These latest figures are extremely concerning. Without significant and urgent government action to support people on the lowest incomes the number of people sleeping rough, in London and across the country, will continue to increase as we move into winter and the cost of living crisis escalates. Homelessness services work hard to support people living through the trauma of sleeping rough - providing emergency beds, outreach services, drop-ins and practical help. But they will quickly be overwhelmed if this situation continues to escalate at this pace. Over recent years the government has made considerable investment in homelessness services, but it is now essential that they step in to support people from becoming homeless in the first place this winter. We are therefore calling on government to:

  • Uprate benefits in line with inflation (September CPI) and reform welfare provision so those on the lowest incomes have the support they need to weather the cost of living crisis
  • Remove the benefit cap and two-child limit
  • Restore local housing allowance (LHA) rates to at least the 30th percentile and return to annual uprating
  • Remove the shared accommodation rate of LHA which puts young people who could afford the rent for a one bedroomed flat before losing work at greater risk of homelessness.

Without the above measures, we will see a huge rise in homelessness that will eradicate the progress made to date (including the step change through the Everyone In programme) and undermine the funding allocated in the new Rough Sleeping Strategy.