A wake up call for the Mayor as rough sleeping rises

31 July 2014

The number of rough sleepers in London has risen 64 per cent since 2010 and one third were repeat rough sleepers, [1] but beds in homeless accommodation dropped by one quarter between 2011 and 2013. [2]

Funding cuts continue to put pressure on homelessness services and many single homeless people can’t break the cycle of repeat rough sleeping.

The London Assembly Housing Committee today released a report ‘No going back. Breaking the cycle of rough sleeping and homelessness’ [3] calling on the Mayor to do more to help single homeless people in the capital. The report revealed that homelessness support services are often failing to address individual needs. In the past year, the number of homelessness projects that refused access to people whose needs were too complex increased by 11 per cent across the UK. [4] To address the complex needs of rough sleepers and to ensure necessary services are available in the right places, the Committee has urged the Mayor to consider London-wide commissioning. Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the Housing Committee said, “With increasing pressure on the system, it’s time for the Mayor to take a strategic approach to single homelessness in London. He must support cross-borough collaboration and ensure the right services are available where vulnerable Londoners need them. “We’ve seen how some tailored services have made a real impact on the lives of rough sleepers, but there is a big variation in provision across boroughs, and coordination with other services like the NHS is often poor. “The Mayor’s No Second Night Out initiative offers the right approach for tackling the problem, but the evidence is clear that this project alone is not going to end rough sleeping in London. “Providing tailored cross-borough services and enough beds will help London’s most vulnerable people make the transition to a settled way of life and curb the rise in repeat rough sleepers in the capital.” Some of the recommendations the report makes to the Mayor, London Health Commission and London boroughs are:

  • The Mayor should begin discussions with the Government and London Councils to establish pan-London and sub-regional commissioning arrangements for services supporting single homeless people.
  • The London Health Commission should assess how health services can be made to join up with, and complement, other services which support rough sleepers.
  • The Mayor should write to the Ministerial Working Group on Rough Sleeping to highlight the need for greater flexibility in the design of JobCentre Plus and NHS systems.
  • The Mayor should press hard for at least a proportionate share of Department of Health hostel funding for London and request Department for Communities and Local Government to clarify what revenue funding will be available to support homelessness projects in London for 2015-16 and beyond.

Notes:

Growing Numbers of People Sleeping Rough in London

Growing Numbers of People Sleeping Rough in London

  • The number of beds, both for second stage (move-on) and direct access (emergency/night shelter) accommodation, fell by one quarter between 2011 and 2013. Source: Atlas of Services for Homeless People in London, London Housing Foundation, 2011 and 2013
  • ‘No going back. Breaking the cycle of rough sleeping and homelessness ‘report by the London Assembly Housing Committee attached.
  • The number of projects refusing access to people whose needs were too complex for them has risen again in the last year, from 63 per cent in 2013 to 74 per cent in 2014. Source: Support for Single Homeless People in England, Homeless Link, April 2014
  • Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the Housing Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  • As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alice Andrewartha on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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