New figures have revealed that the number of people sleeping rough in London during lockdown rose by a third when compared to the same period last year, despite the success of the Everybody In scheme.
Rather than showing a snapshot figure of rough sleeping from one night – as has been the criticism levelled at the majority of official counts – the London-only CHAIN figures see multiple agencies tracking the flow of rough sleeping over time.
The April to June figures show that almost two-thirds of the 4,227 people recorded as sleeping rough in the English capital were doing so for the first time – that is a 77 per cent rise over the amount of people introduced to the streets in the same period last year.
In a blog analysing the figures, Matt Downie MBE, Crisis director of policy and external affairs, said that the figures showed the “true number” of people without a home who had been hidden from view, staying with friends and sleeping on sofas.
At the beginning of the pandemic the government showed what can be done when there is the political will required to end rough sleeping
While 4,450 vulnerable people, many of whom were sleeping rough or in overcrowded accommodation, were housed during the Everyone In scheme, lockdown rules and the economic fallout from the pandemic have pushed others into the places they vacated.
He said: “We urge the government to build on Everyone In’s success, and to introduce legislation to ensure that everyone who is sleeping rough, or is at risk, can access emergency accommodation in the next 12 months. Without this, we will continue to see increasing rough sleeping – especially once protections like the evictions ban and the furlough scheme wind down.