Mayor of London Sadiq Khan: Rough sleeping rise has "effectively halted" but numbers are "unacceptable"

Oliver Gill
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The London mayor has earmarked more than £50m to help those sleeping rough in the capital (Source: Getty)

The Mayor of London said today the number of London's rough sleepers has almost ground to halt for the first time in seven years.

The figures buck a trend that has seen rough sleeper numbers double since 2011.

Some 8,108 people were seen sleeping rough in 2016/17, according to the Combined Homelessness Information Network, which is commissioned and funded by the GLA and managed by St Mungo’s.

This compares with 8,096 in the previous year and 3,975 in 2010/11.

Read more: Sadiq Khan has just launched a £70m fund to support regeneration in London

However, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “It is shameful that the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London doubled between 2010 and 2016.

While I am encouraged to see the number has effectively halted for the first time since 2009, the fact remains that over 8,000 people seen sleeping rough in a global city as rich as London is unacceptable.

The Mayor spends £9m each year on rough sleeping in London, consistent with Khan's predecessor. But last year he earmarked a new £50m fund to invest in accommodation for people who want to move on from hostels and refuges.

In addition Khan's "No Nights Sleeping Rough" task force secured a further £4.2m targeted services for rough sleepers, including a programme to ensure the most entrenched rough sleepers are identified and offered support.

Khan added: "A sharper focus on rough sleeping at City Hall is showing signs of progress, but these figures highlight just how much work needs to be done – clearly one person living rough on the streets of our great city is one too many.

I have to be clear with Londoners that turning things round will not happen overnight. The investment we are making in new and improved services means the number of rough sleepers seen may in fact rise in the short term as more people engage with the support we are offering.

He continued: "But simply ignoring the problem and leaving people on the streets is morally unacceptable - we must all work together to tackle this enduring scar on our city.”

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