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Homelessness has fallen in London, but ‘there is still work to be done’, mayor warns


he number of people sleeping rough in London has fallen by 24% compared to last year, according to new figures.

A total of 8,329 people were seen sleeping rough by outreach workers in London in the 2021/22 financial year, up from 11,018 the previous year. Of those sleeping rough in 2021/22, 70% were assessed as in need of support, while 50% required mental health assistance.

The latest quarterly report from the Combined Homelessness Information and Information Network (CHAIN) commissioned by City Hall found that while the vast majority of rough sleepers were British nationals, 22% came from Central and Eastern Europe, including 14% from Romania.

Between January and March 2022, a total of 2,714 people were seen sleeping rough in London, including 928 in the outer boroughs of London. Westminster is the borough which saw the highest number of homeless people during this period with 618, an increase of 30 from the previous period.

Responding to the latest figures, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was “encouraging” that fewer people were sleeping rough in London, but that “there is still work to be done to end this crisis “.

He said: “During the pandemic, London has led the country in getting people off the streets. My pioneering principle “In for Good” meant that, following our intervention, more than 80% of the people we supported no longer saw themselves sleeping rough.

“Ministers must now step up their support to tackle the cost of living crisis which threatens to undo these hard-won gains. I also urge them to fund the services and social security system that rough sleepers have need, to reform the private rental sector and to invest in new social and genuinely affordable housing to help prevent Londoners from becoming homeless.

In the last reporting quarter of 2021/22, a total of 27 people were identified as new rough sleepers who were classified as living rough in London, up from 40 in the previous quarter. There were 275 new homeless people who spent more than one night on the streets but were not classified as living rough, while there were 993 new homeless people who did not have a second night in the street.