Rough sleeping has increased by 16% in Westminster, according to figures released in the latest series of Greater London Authority CHAIN reports.’ Londonwide Assembly’ Member, Tom Copley AM, said that it is “chilling and profoundly concerning to see rough sleeping on the rise on the doorstep of power in our country”.
The new data has revealed that 2,512 rough sleepers were recorded in Westminster by outreach workers between April 2018 and March 2019, compared to 2,165 over the same period during the previous year.
According to the full Greater London report, the overall number of rough sleepers logged on the capital’s streets rose by 18% to 8,855. The most recent figures published by the ‘Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) estimate that 136 homeless people died in London in 2017.
In the wake of last week’s release of rough sleeping statistics in London, the Mayor of London wrote to the Prime Minister urging the Government to reverse its damaging welfare reforms and significantly improve the support framework available to those with complex immigration cases, who are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless.
In June 2018, the Mayor of London released his ‘Rough Sleeping Plan of Action’, calling on the Government to invest £574m over five years to support a range of new services, initiatives and preventative programmes that the Mayor and other partners would be responsible for delivering.
From City Hall, the Mayor has implemented several measures to combat homelessness, including doubling the size of his rough sleeping budget and outreach team.
He has also used his powers to provide housing for homeless Londoners. In May, City Hall brought the former Clerkenwell Fire Station back into use to provide homeless services and shelter to LGBTIQ+ Londoners. This followed the Mayor’s investment in April of £11 million into providing temporary modular homes for homeless families across the capital.
Londoners are being encouraged to refer rough sleepers to support services through the ‘Streetlink’ app and donate money to the ‘London Homeless Charities Group’ through the Contactless TAP points located at different locations in the city.
This week, the Greater London Authority released a report revealing the scale of the Government’s underfunding of affordable housing projects in the capital. The report concluded that City Hall needs seven times the amount of housing funding it currently receives from the Government, if the Mayor is to meet his affordable housing targets.