Sleeping Rough

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he publish the (a) count, (b) estimate, and (c) average number of people rough sleeping in each local authority in each year since 2011.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The annual single night snapshot of rough sleeping in Autumn 2018 was published on January 31 2019 at the link below:

Table 1 provides figures from annual rough sleeping snapshots in all local authorities in England since 2010 and whether this was derived through a count or an estimate. Each local authority in England chooses whether to inform this annual snapshot via a street count, an evidence-based estimate, or an estimate informed by a spotlight street count.

The methodology for providing this snapshot has been in place since 2010 and provides a way of approximating the number of people sleeping rough across England on a single night, and tracking change over time. Detailed guidance is provided to authorities on how to conduct counts and estimates; hundreds of local partner agencies participate in the process and Homeless Link are funded to verify all local counts and validate local estimates and demographic information.

MHCLG is encouraging local authorities with larger numbers of people sleeping rough to improve their year-round monitoring. Due to the difficulties involved in collecting such information, it is not practical to request all local authorities to gather data on the flow of people sleeping rough across the year. This would require extensive local outreach work as well as a substantial database and, especially for local authorities with small numbers of people sleeping rough, would not be an appropriate use of resources.

In some areas, including London, this is already in place. London’s CHAIN data, which provides information on the individuals seen sleeping rough by outreach teams in London throughout the year as opposed to a single night, was published alongside our own statistics and can be found at the link below.

This Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. No one should ever have to sleep rough. That is why last summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy which sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

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