Government celebrates ‘huge progress’ on rough sleeping

The government’s annual rough sleeping snapshot has shown that rough sleeping has fallen 43 per cent since the Prime Minister has come into office.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has welcomed the findings as a milestone in the effort to end rough sleeping for good.

The data shows that there are an estimated 2,688 people thought to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2020, compared to 4,677 in 2018. The government also claims that the data shows a continued downward trend in rough sleeping numbers over the winter – with the total number of people recorded as sleeping rough across the whole of England falling to 1,461 at the end of January.

The Housing Secretary paid tribute to the combined efforts of councils, charities, faith groups and other partners for the huge achievement, recognising that new partnerships between housing and health services have been crucial to supporting thousands of rough sleepers during the pandemic.

A number of areas have now recorded no rough sleepers at all including Ashford and Basingstoke. Some major cities have recorded exceptionally low levels, including Birmingham at just 17.

Jenrick said: “Today’s figures demonstrate that by working hand in hand with councils, charities and faith groups, the government has made huge progress towards ending rough sleeping and responded to the danger posed by the pandemic in an internationally recognised way.

“At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action from the very start to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer- term accommodation in record numbers through our transformational Everyone In initiative. That work continues, the results are clear and a huge credit to all involved. Ending rough sleeping is a personal mission for the Prime Minister and me – and we have made huge progress since he came into No.10 reducing rough sleeping by 43 per cent. There is more to do, but I am determined to continue to drive progress forward backed by £750 million in funding.”

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