New figures show there is a record number of rough sleepers in London as the precarious winter months approach.
Data collated by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) – the most comprehensive data available about the number of rough sleepers in London – reveal 3,985 people slept rough across the capital from July to September 2019, a 28 per cent increase.
Worryingly the figures show that 2,069 people were new rough sleepers, a rise of 50 per cent, meaning someone is becoming homeless 22 times a day and nearly every two hours.
Chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said the numbers were “simply unforgiveable”, and that conditions were being made worse for many people due to the Vagrancy Act, which makes it a crime to sleep rough or beg.
“This inhumane treatment cannot go on. It’s crucial that all parties commit to scrapping the Vagrancy Act so that we can see the back of this law once and all,” Mr Sparkes said.
“Because in 21st century Britain no one should be criminalised because they don’t have a safe place to call home.”
The new figures come after ONS data found an average of two Homeless people died each day in England and Wales during 2018.
More than 700 homeless people in England and Wales were registered as dead during 2018, an increase of over 22 per cent since 2017.
This is the largest year-on-year increase in deaths since the Office for National Statistics began recording homelessness deaths in 2013.
A Government spokesperson said: “we are undertaking a comprehensive review which will help protect the most vulnerable – including homeless individuals – from the harms that drugs cause.”
The Spokesperson added: “We are also investing £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness.”