The numbers of rough sleepers on London’s streets soared to a record high between July and September, new figures reveal, as charities say double-digit increases in homelessness show immediate action is needed.
Some 3,103 people were found sleeping rough in the capital over the summer, a 17 percent increase on the same period last year – the first time figures have risen above 3,000.
Many of those found sleeping on the street said they were doing so intermittently, but around a tenth (11%) were deemed to be fully homeless.
The figures are collected by charity St Mungo’s and compiled into a regular report as part of a City Hall initiative to track rough sleeping in London.
More than 80% of those found sleeping rough between July and September had done so for just one night, but 25 people who were new to rough sleeping remained on the streets.
About 6% of those found had an armed forces background, while 11% had been in state care.
Almost 40% had been imprisoned, the report said.
Homeless charity Crisis said the figures showed an “appalling spike” in numbers, with each experience representing a personal “disaster”.
Crisis’s Jon Sparkes said: “Across the capital, local authorities are struggling with increasing numbers of people new to the streets, which is why the root causes of the problem must be tackled.
“We can’t carry on like this when we know that homelessness is not inevitable.
“The government has already made important commitments to end rough sleeping but it must address the root causes of it to make those commitments a reality.”