Over 4,000 people have been sleeping rough on England’s streets every night, according to figures released today by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
For the first time, the published figures include details of gender, age and nationality.
Timeline for Crisis
- March 16, 2017
Of the total 4,134 rough sleepers in 2016, the majority — 714 — were from Europe, 509 were female and 288 were under 25.
More than half of councils in England saw a rise in rough sleeping, which stands at a six-year high.
The number of people sleeping rough in England is now more than double the total at the start of the decade. pic.twitter.com/BcLbPhKQiPLoading ...
— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) 25 January 2017
“Behind these statistics are thousands of desperate people, sleeping in doorways, bin shelters, stations and parks – anywhere they can find to stay safe and escape the elements,” said Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, the UK-based charity for homeless people.
“Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on their mental and physical health. Our recent research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live.”
Graeme Brown, the CEO at Shelter, a UK-based housing and homelessness charity, said that the government should be doing more to help those living on the streets:
“The lack of affordable homes coupled with cuts to welfare have led us to this tragic situation. Until the government provides more homes that people on low incomes can actually afford to live in, the problem will only get worse.”
A shocking rise in rough sleeping was reported yesterday. It’s worth remembering that this only represents the tip of the iceberg. pic.twitter.com/ubzIyQoTTN
3 Things That Will Change the World Today
— Shelter (@Shelter) 26 January 2017
Many others, including the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, took to Twitter to attack the government for not doing enough to tackle widespread homelessness across the country, while spending billions on foreign aid.
This is @Theresa_May‘s shared society. Street homelessness soars as Prime Minister hands out tax cuts to the richest
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) 25 January 2017
Tory government persists with huge foreign aid budget as homelessness figures soar here at home. Unforgivable!
Tory government persists with huge foreign aid budget as homelessness figures soar here at home. Unforgivable! https://t.co/cStUW2YRDi
— LEAVE.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) 25 January 2017
— JW™ (@WillemXIII) 25 January 2017
The government said that plans are in place to invest £550m to reduce homelessness.