Sleeping Rough

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number people living in makeshift homeless camps who have been removed in each of the last 10 years.

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

MHCLG does not collect any statistics on the number of people living in people living in makeshift homeless camps who have been removed to provide an estimate.

The annual Rough Sleeping Statistics, published on 31 January 2019, include people sleeping rough in make shift camps but no separate figures about the types of sites where people are sleeping rough are recorded or whether they have been removed.

These statistics show the total number of people counted or estimated to be sleeping rough in each local authority area in England, on a single night in Autumn 2018 was 4,677. This was down by 74 people or 2 per cent from the 2017 total of 4,751 and was up 2,909 people or 165 per cent from the 2010 total of 1,768.

Local authorities use a specific definition to identify people sleeping rough. This includes people sleeping or who are about to bed down in open air locations and other places including tents, cars, and makeshift shelters.

The full definition of people sleeping rough is as follows:

People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes” which are makeshift shelters, often comprised of cardboard boxes). The definition does not include people in hostels or shelters, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers. Bedded down is taken to mean either lying down or sleeping. About to bed down includes those who are sitting in/on or near a sleeping bag or other bedding.

These statistics are available at the following link:

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. This year, Rough Sleeping Initiative investment totals £46 million and has been allocated to 246 areas – providing funding for an estimated 750 additional staff and over 2,600 bed spaces.

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