Housing

It just got easier to see a snapshot of rough sleeping in London online

Charity Homeless Link launched their interactive Atlas service this week as damning rough sleeping figures were released

rough sleeper

In the week where damning rough sleeping figures painted a sorry picture of homelessness in London, Homeless Link have launched a powerful tool to help turn the tide.

Official government figures found that rough sleeping had fallen for the first time in eight years across the country but it was a different story in the English capital.

Stats showed that there were 1,283 rough sleepers in London last autumn, out of 4,677 on the streets across the country, up 13 per cent on the previous year.

However, the experts widely believe the official figures to be a significant underestimate, largely down to the fact that they are taken on a one-night snapshot count.

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) count is regarded as a much more reliable method of counting, instead taking into account two weeks of counting to create an average.

Those figures, too, were released earlier this week and found that 3,289 rough sleepers were out in London between October and December last year.

To help battle back against the spiralling homelessness numbers, Homeless Link has released their Atlas service online to give an interactive map showing services and stats.

Users can see hostels and other services as well as how to contact them borough by borough alongside rough sleeping statistics and information on the UK’s first Housing First project, which began in Camden back in 2010.

Commissioned by the London Housing Foundation, it is the first time that the Atlas has been published online after existing for 10 years to provide an ‘at a glance’ view of services.

“The network of support provided to people without dependent children facing homelessness in London is large and complex,” said Homeless Link research consultant Becky Rice.

“While rough sleeping figures get a lot of publicity, the services that support this group are sometimes less visible. There are no particular ‘go-to’ statistics to describe the ‘sector’ (one key part of the current solution) in the way that street counts and CHAIN statistics describe the problem.

“Stakeholders told us that an interactive, web-based product would be more useful to them and more appropriate for the second decade of the Atlas.”

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