Rough sleeping is defined as people sleeping in the open air, or people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation. There are two promises here about rough sleeping. Firstly, to reduce rough sleeping by half during this parliament, and secondly, to eliminate it altogether by 2027. We can track the first promise, but because 2027 is outside this government’s term of office, we’re not going to track the second part.
In Autumn 2016, the total number of rough sleepers was 4,134 (up from 1,768 in 2011). That’s the number the government wants to reduce by half. Since the election, further figures have been released showing that rough sleeping increased to 4,751 in 2017. The next set of figures should be available in early 2019.
So how will the government reduce rough sleeping? Firstly, specific policies are mentioned in the manifesto to help achieve the target (see “Related policies” below). They are all significant, but we can’t say rough sleeping will be halved solely by implementing those policies, so we are tracking this promise separately.
The main pillar of government action on this promise is its Rough Sleeping Strategy, published in August 2018. It promises a £100 million investment until 2020 to tackle rough sleeping, emphasising investment in housing (including Housing First pilots) and social impact investment, as well as measures already included in the Homelessness Reduction Act.
Also in 2018, the creation of a Rough Sleeping Team of experts was announced, and additional funding for particularly affected local authorities and frontline workers. The Rough Sleeping Strategy also includes a pilot scheme targeted at tackling homelessness among former prisoners.
Given all this activity we can see that this policy is ‘in progress’, but we are yet to see an impact on the number of rough sleepers. We’ll update this policy when more initiatives are announced, and up to date figures are released on the number of rough sleepers. Follow this policy to hear first.
Get the detail
- Rough sleeping in England: autumn 2017 – Gov.uk
- Homelessness in England Visualisation – National Audit Office
- The rough sleeping strategy – Gov.uk
- New government initiative to reduce rough sleeping – Gov.uk
- Rough Sleeping Strategy and prison leavers: Rory Stewart blog – Gov.uk (blog post)
- Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 – Parliament.uk
- Housing Secretary James Brokenshire awards funding to reduce rough sleeping – Gov.uk
- Housing First England
- Street homelessness – Shelter