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Rough sleeping numbers in England remain very high according to new Government figures published today (31 January 2019), with an overall increase of 165% in the last eight years.

These 2018 figures are based on street counts or estimates conducted by every English local authority on one single night in autumn. While overall numbers were slightly down compared to 2017, in London 13% more people were seen sleeping or bedded down during the counts.

We are pleased to see that these snapshot figures show a small decrease of people under 25 sleeping rough in the capital, with a total of 49 in this particularly vulnerable age group, however our own recent preliminary research has indicated that many in this age group might be missed in the formal statistics.

In London rough sleeping numbers are also collected in the more comprehensive CHAIN system. The latest CHAIN report shows an increase of 25% people rough sleeping in this city in the last three months of 2018, compared to the same quarter in 2017. 

"We are pleased to see that these snapshot figures show a small decrease of people under 25 sleeping rough in the capital... however our own recent preliminary research has indicated that many in this age group might be missed in the formal statistics."

These figures were published in the same week as the first meeting of the youth sub-group of the No Night Sleeping Out, the Mayor of London’s rough sleeping task force. Chaired by New Horizon, the sub-group will aim to evaluate rough sleeping data for under 25s, and determine the best ways of identifying, engaging and supporting young people sleeping rough.

None of the statistics mentioned include the vast number of young people who are so-called ‘hidden homeless’, as rough sleeping is not only narrowly defined but also a very small part of the different types of experience of homelessness. They also do not indicate causes of homelessness, such as welfare benefit reform, lack of suitable accommodation young people can afford, age-based wage discrimination, and the cuts in in youth services.

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