Homelessness

News from Tom Copley: Rough sleeping rises by 16% on 'doorstep of power'

27 June 2019

Rough sleeping rises by 16% in Westminster

 

Rough sleeping has increased by 16% in Westminster, according to figures released in the latest series of Greater London Authority CHAIN reports. Londonwide Assembly Member, Tom Copley AM, said that it is “chilling and profoundly concerning to see rough sleeping on the rise on the doorstep of power in our country”.

 

The new data has revealed that 2,512 rough sleepers were recorded in Westminster by outreach workers between April 2018 and March 2019, compared to 2,165 over the same period during the previous year.

 

According to the full Greater London report, the overall number of rough sleepers logged on the capital’s streets rose by 18% to 8,855. The most recent figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimate that 136 homeless people died in London in 2017.

 

In the wake of last week’s release of rough sleeping statistics in London, the Mayor of London wrote to the Prime Minister urging the Government to reverse its damaging welfare reforms and significantly improve the support framework available to those with complex immigration cases, who are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless.

 

In June 2018, the Mayor of London released his Rough Sleeping Plan of Action, calling on the Government to invest £574m over five years to support a range of new services, initiatives and preventative programmes that the Mayor and other partners would be responsible for delivering.

 

From City Hall, the Mayor has implemented several measures to combat homelessness, including doubling the size of his rough sleeping budget and outreach team.

 

He has also used his powers to provide housing for homeless Londoners. In May, City Hall brought the former Clerkenwell Fire Station back into use to provide homeless services and shelter to LGBTIQ+ Londoners. This followed the Mayor’s investment in April of £11 million into providing temporary modular homes for homeless families across the capital.

 

Londoners are being encouraged to refer rough sleepers to support services through the Streetlink app and donate money to the London Homeless Charities Group through the Contactless TAP points located at different locations in the city.

 

This week, the Greater London Authority released a report revealing the scale of the Government’s underfunding of affordable housing projects in the capital. The report concluded that City Hall needs seven times the amount of housing funding is currently receives from the Government, if the Mayor is to meet his affordable housing targets.

 

Londonwide Assembly Member, Tom Copley AM, said:

 

“It is chilling and profoundly concerning to see rough sleeping on the rise on the doorstep of power in our country. Westminster has significantly higher numbers of rough sleepers than any other London borough.

 

“The Government’s callous welfare reforms and failure to provide the necessary support to those with complex immigration cases are pushing more of the most vulnerable Londoners onto the streets and into the most desperate situations.

 

“With the right and robust political will, we can reverse this shameful situation. The Mayor has taken stringent action to reach out to homeless Londoners and lift them out of destitution, but Government intervention and funding has been lacking.

 

“It’s high-time that the Government listened to our calls and properly invested in homelessness services and the delivery of the genuinely affordable housing that the capital needs. They must finally put an end to austerity which has plunged so many Londoners into poverty and exacerbated the levels of inequality fragmenting our society”.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

Notes to editors

  • The latest figures, released in a series of Greater London Authority CHAIN reports last week, show that rough sleeping has increased by 16% in Westminster between April 2017/March 2018 and April 2018/March 2019. The new data has revealed that 2,512 rough sleepers were recorded in Westminster by outreach workers between April 2018 and March 2019, compared to 2,165 over the same period during the previous year.
     
  • According to data from the ‘Greater London Full Report’, the overall number of rough sleepers recorded on the capital’s streets rose by 18% to 8,855;
     
  • The most recent figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimate that 136 homeless people died in London in 2017;  
  • Last week, the Mayor of London wrote to the Prime Minister urging the Government to reverse its welfare reforms and significantly improve the support framework available to those with complex immigration cases, who are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless; 
  • In June 2018, the Mayor of London released his Rough Sleeping Plan of Action, calling on the Government to invest £574m over five years to support a range of new services, initiatives and preventative programmes that the Mayor and other partners would be responsible for delivering;
     
  • From City Hall, the Mayor has implemented several measures to combat homelessness, including doubling the size of his rough sleeping budget and outreach team;
     
  • In May, City Hall brought the former Clerkenwell Fire Station back into use to provide homeless services and shelter to LGBTIQ+ Londoners. In April, the Mayor invested £11 million into providing temporary modular homes for homeless families across the capital;
  • More information about Streetlink rough sleeping referral app can be found here;
  • Further information about the Contactless TAP donation points can be found here;
     
  • The Greater London Authority’s report, 2022-2032 Affordable Housing Funding Requirement for London can be accessed here;
     
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member.

 

 

 

 

 

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