Sharp rise in rough sleeping 'caused by recession'
Rough sleeping in London has risen by 43% in the past year, new figures reveal.
The Street to Home Report 2011/12 from homeless charity Broadway says the total number of people seen sleeping on the streets of London rose to 5,678, up from 3,825 the previous year.
67% of people seen rough sleeping last year were new to the streets, of whom 70% did not sleep rough for a second night in the year.
Research released by Homeless Link in February indicates that 57% of new rough sleepers seek advice, from agencies such as councils housing services, between leaving their last home and the first instance of rough sleeping.
Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link, said:
"These figures confirm once again that the recession is fuelling a rise in rough sleeping across England, a situation that some of the Government's welfare reforms could make worse.
"However, thanks to a joined-up approach by charities, the GLA and councils in London, those who do end up on London's streets are getting helped more quickly and fewer spend a second night out.
"Ultimately, it's not right that anyone ends up sleeping out. It's bad for both individuals and communities. In many cases this problem could be prevented. Over half of rough sleepers seek help before the streets or are in contact with some agency."
Mr Harrison said better advice for people who find themselves homeless is needed.
"We have to tackle the affordable housing crisis and the Government needs to ensure that welfare reforms do not add to rough sleeping numbers," he added.