A leading charity has warned that the government will “fail” to meet its target of ending sleeplessness in England by 2024.
Annual statistics released today by the Department for Leveling, Housing and Communities show that the number of homeless people has increased for the first time since 2017.
More than 3,000 people slept rough in a single night in autumn 2022 – this is just a snapshot of the ‘massive and collective’ failure to address this growing crisis.
The number has increased by 74% since 2010, when the instant method was first introduced.
Charity Crisis responded to the new figures showing a 26% increase in sleeping outside compared to last year.
This comes as another set of statistics shows that nearly 100,000 families are stuck in temporary accommodation.
Matt Downie, chief executive, said: ‘These figures confirm the sad reality that the Westminster government will not deliver on its commitment to end sleep on the streets next year.
“The fact that homelessness is on the rise once again frankly shames our society, and if alarm bells weren’t ringing in government, they should be now.
‘With 100,000 families trapped in temporary accommodation, many having been evicted from their homes, we are on an extremely dangerous course.
‘And with still no sign of the Tenant Reform Bill, which would end ‘no-fault’ evictions, many are exposed, without what should be basic legal protections.’
Downie called on the government to commit to investing in housing benefits in the next budget to “prevent homelessness levels from reaching a crisis on a national scale”.
This comes after the government published its ‘End Sleeping in Bed Forever’ strategy in September, aimed at keeping to the commitment of the manifesto.
The rate of people sleeping on the street on a single night last year was 5.4 people per 100,000 – up from 4.3 per 100,000 in 2021 but down from 8.5 per 100,000 in 2017.
Poor sleep increased in all regions compared to the previous year, with the biggest increase in London, which was up by more than a third (34%).
An estimated 858 people in 2022 slept outdoors in the capital in a single night, compared to 640 people in 2021, an increase of 218 people.
Nearly half (47%) of all single night sleepers in autumn are in London and the South East.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, emphasized that the increase of more than a quarter year-on-year since 2021 “is evidence of how the cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated the long-standing motives of homelessness.”
“People are being let down by systems that are supposed to protect them, forced onto the streets at the expense of their physical and mental health,” he added.
“The 26% increase is evidence of how the cost of living has exacerbated long-standing reasons for homelessness, such as a shortage of affordable housing, an often punitive welfare system and increasingly overburdened health services. .
“At the same time, continued financial pressures mean that hundreds of homeless services across the country are on the verge of closing, risking leaving homeless people with nowhere to go.”
He urged the government to take “urgent action to keep homeless services open”, increasing funding in line with inflation.
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