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Rough Sleeping

Volume 655: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

On 31 January, the annual rough sleeping statistics were published and showed a welcome 2% reduction in the number of rough sleepers.

These figures also showed that the 83 local authority areas that were part of the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) had seen a 23% reduction in rough sleeping. It has come to our attention that the percentage decrease stated should have referred to 19% rather than 23%. The underlying figures remain unchanged, as does the national 2% reduction. The updated statistics release is available at:

The figures continue to demonstrate that the Rough Sleeping Initiative has had a significant impact on the number of people sleeping rough and is working. That is why we announced a further £45 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative in 2019-20 as part of the Rough Sleeping strategy. Eleven million pounds of this funding has been set aside for areas that were not part of the initial work of the Rough Sleeping Initiative so that we can build on this work to make sure we continue to support more people off the streets and into safe and secure accommodation.

The comprehensive process for gathering these statistics was, like previous years, run by Homeless Link, the national membership charity for homeless organisations. Local authorities hold a multi-agency meeting to decide whether to count or estimate rough sleepers in their area and when the chosen date for deciding this figure will be. They are responsible for choosing the method that will most accurately reflect the number of people sleeping rough in their area on a single night. All rough sleeping returns submitted by local authorities are then independently verified or validated by Homeless Link to ensure they are robust. Hundreds of volunteers from homelessness sector organisations as well as local authority staff and people from local communities are involved in this process.