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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Staggering rise in number of people sleeping rough simply unacceptable says CIH


Figures released today by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that the autumn 2017 total number of rough sleepers counted and estimated in England was 4,751, up 15% from 4,134 in autumn 2016 and 169% from 1,768 in autumn 2010.

Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “It is quite simply unacceptable that so many people are sleeping rough across England – we must act now. The staggering rise in the number of people sleeping rough since 2010 is a stark demonstration of our national housing crisis. And of course the complete picture is likely to be much worse – we know that homelessness is rising in all its forms. For everyone who has no other option but to sleep on the streets, there are many more trapped in poor quality temporary accommodation and still more ‘hidden homeless’ people sofa surfing and sleeping on public transport for example.”

The government has committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027. To achieve that ambition, Terrie Alafat said ministers must also review welfare policies which are hindering efforts to tackle homelessness and make sure that councils have enough funding to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act, which comes into force in April. She said: “History tells us that we can reduce or even eliminate homelessness but it does require a co-ordinated approach – that means government investment, funding for affordable housing and a concerted effort across the housing and homelessness sectors.”

She added: “The government must consider its proposals to change the way it funds short-term supported housing very carefully to make sure it is not cutting people’s options even further.”

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