More than 3,600 people slept on London’s streets this summer.
The number of people sleeping rough in London has jumped 24% in the past year, according to an official count, meaning more than 3,600 people slept on the capital’s streets between June and September.
More than half were found sleeping rough for the first time by outreach teams – 35% more than the same time last year – as street homelessness in London heads back towards pre-pandemic levels.
Rising private rents, increasing evictions and a reluctance to leave temporary shelters for permanent housing because of fears about energy bills are cited as driving factors by homelessness campaigners.
St Mungo’s, a homelessness charity, said it feared “worse is yet to come”.
Rents for new tenants in London have risen 16% on last year, according to Rightmove.
The number of evictions in London increased more than four-fold from the second quarter of 2021, when a ban was in place due the pandemic, to the same period this year, official figures show.
Some 481 people are now deemed to be living on the streets full-time – up from 264 at the start of the pandemic, when hotels were used as hostels.
Many more are deemed to be intermittently sleeping rough.
“The scale of this Increase is shocking,” said Billy Harding, of Centrepoint, a charity helping homeless young people in London.
Half of London’s rough sleepers are UK citizens, while the largest foreign populations are from Romania and Poland.
Most are between 36 and 55 years old; half have mental health problems; and a third need help with drugs and drinking.”