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Sadiq Khan to invest further £20m to tackle rough sleeping in London

Mayor Sadiq Khan is investing a further £20m to tackle rough sleeping across London after the latest figures revealed it has risen 21 per cent since last year.

Statistics published as part of the latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) annual report revealed that a total of 10,053 people were seen sleeping rough in London during 2022-23 – up from 8,329 people seen in 2021/22.

More than three-quarters of the new funding (some £17.27m) – announced by City Hall earlier this month – will be used to deliver the Mayor’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) service from 1 April 2024 to 21 March 2027, with the possibility of extending the service for up to a further two years.

Sadiq Khan to invest further £20m to tackle rough sleeping in London Harrow Online
Image: Tom Parsons/Unsplash

The NSNO service, a key part of the Mayor’s Life off the Streets programme, supports people who are seen sleeping rough for the first time.

The remaining £2.75m of funding will go towards other pan-London rough sleeping services, such as StreetLink – enabling the service to continue working across London and providing a triage phone line for those new to the streets – and a training programme to upskill the homelessness and migrant sectors to better support non-UK nationals sleeping rough in the capital.

A shelter for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are sleeping rough will also be among the initiatives to benefit from the remaining funds.

People sleeping rough for the first time represented 64 per cent of the total in 2022/23.

Of the new rough sleepers, some 20 per cent had been evicted from their property, and around two-thirds had been living in some form of long-term accommodation immediately prior to sleeping rough.

By far the highest number of rough sleepers in 2022/23 were located in the borough of Westminster, in which some 2,050 people were identified – even if only sleeping rough for one night. It was followed by Camden, where 719 rough sleepers were seen, and Lambeth, with 623.

The lowest numbers over the course of the year were seen in Sutton (30), Merton (63) and Havering (79).

Some 233 people were seen sleeping rough at Heathrow Airport, while 142 were identified on the capital’s bus routes, and 36 on the Tube.

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