There has been a 74% increase in rough sleeping since the Tories took power

The Tories had vowed to find the dream hard for the coming year (Image: Anadolu)

A major charity has warned that the government “will not be able to” meet its target of ending sleeping on the streets in England by 2024.

Annual statistics released today by the Department of Equalization, Housing and Communities show that the number of homeless people has risen for the first time since 2017.

Over 3,000 people were sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2022 – this is just a snapshot of the ‘massive and collective’ failure to address this growing crisis.

The number is up 74% since 2010, when the snapshot method was first introduced.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 2: A man sleeps on the pavement next to a hot air grill, as housing organizations raise concerns about homelessness figures, on February 2, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Rough sleeping has increased in all regions compared to the previous year (Image: Getty)

Charity Crisis responded to new figures showing a 26% increase in the number of people sleeping rough compared to last year.

It comes as another set of statistics shows that nearly 100,000 households are stuck in temporary accommodation.

Matt Downie, chief executive, said: “These figures confirm the grim reality that the Westminster government will not deliver on its commitment to end sleep on the streets by next year.”

“The fact that homelessness is on the rise once again frankly shames our society and if alarm bells weren’t ringing across government, they should be now.

‘With 100,000 households stuck in temporary accommodation, many of whom have been evicted from their homes, we are on an extremely dangerous course.

“And with no sign yet of the Tenant Reform Bill, which would eliminate “no-fault” evictions, many are left 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 on the Street Forever’ strategy in September with the aim of delivering on its stated commitment.

The rate of people sleeping outdoors for 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.

Rough sleeping has increased in all regions compared to the previous year, with the largest increase in London, which increased by more than a third (34%).

It is estimated that in 2022 there were 858 people sleeping rough in the capital in a single night compared to 640 people in 2021, an increase of 218 people.

Nearly half (47%) of all those sleeping outdoors on a single autumn night are in London and the South East.

Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link, stressed that the increase of more than a quarter year-over-year since 2021 “is evidence of how the cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated long-standing drivers of homelessness.”

“People are being let down by systems that should protect them, forced out into 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 drivers of 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 hundreds of homeless services across the country are on the brink of closure, risking leaving homeless people with nowhere to turn.”

He urged the government to take “urgent action to keep homeless services open” by increasing funding in line with inflation.

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