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Rise In Rough Sleeping Shows Need For Services That Help People Quickly Off The Streets

  • Number of people sleeping out increased by 31% in last two years
  • Approach to help rough sleepers quickly, four times more successful than traditional services
  • Homeless Link calls on councils not to cut services and urges public to play their part

Figures published yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government show rough sleeping numbers in England have increased for the second year in a row.

2,309 rough sleepers were counted or estimated by local authorities to be out on anyone night in 2012. This is up 6% from 2011 (2,181) and 31% from 2010 (1,768).

Since 2011, more than 60 communities have adopted the No Second Night Out (NSNO) approach. NSNO involves putting in place services that help rough sleepers get help quickly, such as a local hub for rough sleepers to go for advice and assistance.

In December 2012, the StreetLink telephone line and website was launched by charities Homeless Link and Broadway to enable the public to play their part by alerting local services when they see someone sleeping rough. It has been contacted more than 10,000 times by the public since its launch.

Responding to the news, Matt Harrison, a Director of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homelessness charities, said:

“The harsh economic climate continues to add to rough sleeping numbers. Living on the streets is dangerous, harmful to your health and the longer you spend out the more your problems will multiply.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to invest in a safety net that gets help to rough sleepers quickly and supports them to get back on their feet. Where this has happened, people are more likely to spend less time out and are less likely to sleep rough again.

“With homelessness rising when many charities face cuts, councils need to continue to invest in services that prevent damage to individuals and communities. The public can also act when they are concerned about someone sleeping rough. Call StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 and help connect them to local services.”

To view the latest rough sleeping figures, visit https://www.gov.uk

Read our analysis to find out which regions have seen the biggest increases.

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