London boroughs have welcomed the government’s new approach to tackling rough sleeping, saying that it will bring “forensic focus” to the issue and help accelerate the capital’s progress in reducing street homelessness.
Reiterating boroughs’ commitment to ending rough sleeping, the cross-party group London Councils expressed support for the government working with the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI) to promote a data-led definition of this goal and the capital being selected as an ‘early adopter’ for testing and trailblazing the new approach.
Effective partnership work between the boroughs, City Hall, and voluntary sector groups is driving significant reductions in rough sleeping in the capital.
Government figures released last week show the estimated number of people sleeping rough in London has fallen for the third year in a row. There has been a 10% fall in estimated rough sleeping numbers in the capital since last year (640 compared to 710) – the steepest drop of any region in England.
Boroughs are determined to make even faster progress and support a renewed national emphasis on prevention of rough sleeping wherever possible – and if it can’t be prevented, ensuring it is rare, brief, and non-recurring. Boroughs have long highlighted the need for policies and interventions which address key factors behind rough sleeping, including tenancy loss and discharge from prison.
With the government proposing additional metrics for measuring rough sleeping other than snapshot data, London boroughs believe this will develop more detailed data and improve support aimed at keeping people off the streets.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said:
“Solid progress is being made on reducing rough sleeping in the capital, but boroughs are determined to play our part in ending it altogether.
“We welcome the government working with the Centre for Homelessness Impact on developing new national success measures, which we believe can bring forensic focus to this hugely complex challenge. “Tackling rough sleeping – and preventing it from occurring in the first place – requires a range of policy measures, as well as close and effective partnerships between different agencies and long-term funding commitments for the frontline services keeping people off the streets.
“London can lead the way on this key national priority, with boroughs at the forefront of our collective efforts to end rough sleeping.”