Lord Kerslake: ‘Government must maintain impetus to end rough sleeping’
The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping has urged the Government to maintain the impetus for ending rough sleeping as the latest snapshot figures show the number of people who were street homeless has fallen to its lowest level since 2014.
The Annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot data for 2021 released today (24 February) reveal that 2,440 people were seen sleeping rough on a single night during October and November 2021 which is a 9% reduction from 2020, and the lowest for eight years.
The figures show that there has been a decrease in every region of England compared to the previous year.
While some individual local authorities have recorded increases, others have seen significant reductions including a 23% fall in the number of people seen sleeping rough in Westminster (from 242 to 187) and of 36% in Manchester from (68 to 43).
Of the people experiencing street homelessness:
- 85% were male (same as 2020)
- 86% were aged over 26 (down from 87% in 2020)
- 67% were from the UK (a fall from 72% last year), and
- 9% were aged between 18-25 (an increase of 2% on the previous year)
The Kerslake Commission was convened in 2021 to capture the learning from the emergency response to rough sleeping during the first Coronavirus lockdown.
Chaired by the former head of the Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake, with the secretariat function being provided by leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s, the Commission is made up of 22 board members including politicians, experts from the health, housing, homelessness sectors as well as people with lived experience.
Reacting to today’s figures, Lord Kerslake said: “It is very positive to see the number of people sleeping on our streets continuing to fall. This is a direct result of the continuing effect of the emergency response to the pandemic, and the wider changes that it has brought about.
“We continue to see what can be achieved when the ambition to end rough sleeping is backed by the appropriate resourcing.
“Many of the recommendations made by the Kerslake Commission are already being implemented by the Government, including longer term funding settlements and allowing local authorities more power in allocating resources, but the job is not done.
“We must sustain the impetus, and the effort. The Commission was never intended to end with a report that sits on a shelf gathering dust. It has provided a blueprint for tackling rough sleeping and the wider issues of homelessness, and its work continues.
“We meet again next month to chart progress against the recommendations, and we will be assessing what more needs to be done. We must not lose momentum now when we are making such strides towards making ending street homelessness a reality.”
The snapshot figures are based on a street count which every local authority in England undertakes each year on one night between 1 October and 30 November, or estimates from local councils which are verified and agreed by Homeless Link.
The Kerslake Commission published its main report in September 2021, making 48 recommendations for local and national government and across the health, homelessness and criminal justice sectors.
For more information about the Commission, its work and its members visit commissiononroughsleeping.org