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Rough Sleeping And Homelessness Soars Across The UK

By Danny Weller


“Rough sleeping” is rising in England for the first time in five years. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2022, an estimated 3,069 people were sleeping out on the streets of England, a rise of 26 per cent. This constitutes the most significant rise since 2015 and starkly contrasts the Conservative government’s 2019 manifesto promise to “end the blight of rough sleeping” by 2024.


These “rough sleeping” figures do not give the full scope of the issue, as they do not include homeless people living in temporary shelters or hostels. London and the southeast had half the number of rough sleepers on its streets, while Westminster local authority had the highest number of rough sleepers, 250 people, up from 63. According to the ONS, 64% of 

irregular sleepers were UK nationals, 21% were EU nationals, and 6% were from outside the EU and UK. 


Chief executive of the Homeless Link charity Rick Henderson said, “The 26 per cent rise is evidence of how the cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated long-standing drivers of homelessness”. This comes as the National Health Service faces mass cuts and privatisation.


Homeless Charity Crisis and Heriot-Watt University predicted that by 2024,” there will be 66,000 more homeless people in England and 8,000 more rough sleepers.” In 2022, a council official told researchers, “We are expecting a tidal wave, to put it mildly”. London is expected to have the most considerable increase in the number of homeless.


Homeless charity Shelter estimates that nearly a quarter of a million people live in temporary accommodation, the majority of which are majority families, including 123,000 children. 

There has been a 74 per cent rise in those living in temporary housing in the last ten years.

Social housing tenants are faced with a rent increase of up to seven per cent this year, on top of the cost of living increases and council tax. With thousands of families across Britain forced to choose between heating and eating this winter as energy prices soared, these new rent increases will push many to the absolute limit. 


According to Crisis, evictions in rental properties have spiked by 98% in a year, and almost 1 million low-income households across the UK live in fear of exile shortly. 


Crisis CEO Matt Downie warned, “The devastating impact of the cost-of-living crisis, rising rents and low wages has once again been laid bare as thousands more renters are faced with eviction and the very real threat of being left with nowhere to go”.


According to information from the Ministry of Justice, evictions between October 1-December 31, 2022, stood at 5,409, double the previous number for the same period in 2021. 


Portia Msimang from Renters’ Rights London stated, “People are being held to ransom by landlords, who themselves are living really well.”

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