The figures, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government show a 16% annual increase in rough sleeping across England.
In London a 3% annual increase in the number of rough sleepers was recorded; whilst in the rest of England there was a 21% increase. More than half of councils across England recorded a rise illustrating that homelessness remains a national - rather than regional - scandal.
Responding to the updated statistics, Emmaus UK Chief Executive, Simon Grainge said: “Today’s figures show the disparity between what is invested in homelessness across the UK. The fact that the numbers are rising at a slower rate in London than the rest of the UK is a credit to the number of voluntary organisations who are working together in the capital to deal with the homelessness. We need to ensure this is reflected across the UK and that a national approach is taken to tackling homelessness.
“This isn’t a local problem that is confined to large cities. Homelessness is all around us and so much of it isn’t visible. We strongly believe that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. So many people are camping, sofa surfing and doing whatever they can to stay warm and dry over the winter months, and something has to be done. I sincerely hope ministers will get behind the Homelessness Reduction Bill this Friday, and take action to make a real difference to the lives of people who end up with nowhere else to turn.”
On Friday, the Homelessness Reduction Bill returns to the House of Commons to be debated by MPs. If passed the bill would be the first reform of England’s homelessness legislation in 40 years and could prevent 40,000 people from becoming homeless each year.
There is still time for people to contact their local MP and encourage them to support the bill. Those wishing to do so can use the following website: https://www.writetothem.com/