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Rough Sleeping: Annual Snapshot

Volume 709: debated on Thursday 24 February 2022

Today the annual rough sleeping snapshot is published which shows that the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn has fallen to an eight-year low and almost halved since 2017, with a reduction of 49%. This year the numbers have fallen by 9%, with falls seen in every region across England.

These figures are the result of remarkable work and dedication from local authorities, charities and other local partners, backed up by significant Government funding and support. This year alone we are investing £800 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, including £202 million for the rough sleeping initiative which is empowering local areas to deliver tailored local solutions for rough sleeping. It also includes funding for the rough sleeping accommodation programme, which is delivering 6,000 homes for rough sleepers—the biggest ever investment in housing of this kind. We are also investing up to £52 million for rehab and detox services for people with drug or alcohol issues. The statistics released today are proof that this approach is working and is helping thousands of vulnerable people to turn their lives around.

At the local authority level, the three largest decreases are in Westminster, Manchester and Exeter. Westminster faces a significant flow of new rough sleepers to the borough, and has focused on immediate accommodation, triaging cases for support and rapid, effective move on into more settled accommodation. In Manchester, its partnership working alongside an assertive outreach approach has contributed to its reductions in the number of people sleeping rough. Exeter has focused on a flexible off the street offer and has worked to minimise returns to the street. These areas are all fantastic examples of what can be achieved when local partners and local leaders work with central Government to develop ambitious plans. We look forward to seeing further progress in the coming years, particularly through local areas’ rough sleeping initiative 2022 to 2025 plans.

We have also published today further monthly management information for February to December 2021, which shows numbers of people on the street, numbers in emergency accommodation and their nationality, and numbers moved on into settled accommodation. Publishing this additional data provides greater transparency about rough sleeping levels across the year and helps also to track progress in providing individuals with safe accommodation.

Since May 2020, thousands of people have been helped into long-term accommodation. Our figures show that as at the end of December 2021, 40,240 individuals have been supported into long-term accommodation. Both the annual rough sleeping snapshot statistics and the additional management information published today show positive progress and demonstrate the impact of the significant support Government has put in place to support rough sleepers off the streets, including throughout the pandemic.

We want rough sleeping to be prevented wherever possible and, when it does happen, to ensure that rough sleeping is rare, brief and non-recurring. To deliver this we will bring forward a bold, new strategy to end rough sleeping. The strategy will set out how we will ensure rough sleeping is prevented in the first instance and is effectively responded to in the rare cases where it does occur, but also that our police have the ability to intervene where needed and to keep people safe.

We know that we cannot end rough sleeping without a whole system, cross-Government approach, which is why working together is critical to providing individuals with the range of support and services that they need—working with relevant Government Departments, local authorities, police forces, the health sector and the voluntary sector to achieve this. This will be supported by the £2 billion we have committed to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

Every person brought off the street represents a life that has been turned around, thanks to the dedication and hard work of local partners. This Government are committed to ending rough sleeping, and we will continue to work with local and national partners to achieve this.