Posted on: 30 April 2024
  • New official figures confirm another rise in rough sleeping in London
  • 4118 people were seen rough sleeping Jan – March ‘24
  • This figure includes nearly 400 young people

There has been another rise in rough sleeping in London, in what Centrepoint and New Horizon Youth Centre are this morning calling part of a deepening “national scandal”.

Today’s Greater London Authority CHAIN statistics* reveal 4118 people were seen rough sleeping in the capital between January and March 2024 – a third (33%) higher than the same period last year. 367 of these were young people, aged 25 and under.

In 2023-2024, there has been a 43% increase in 18-25 year olds sleeping rough, compared with the previous year.

Despite efforts to bring these numbers down there has been a stark annual rise in rough sleeping in the last year. The effects of the cost of living and rental crises have been acutely felt in London, with more young people than ever before reaching out for homelessness support.

Earlier this month, New Horizon Youth Centre, London’s only open access homeless day centre specifically for under 25s, had the busiest day in its 55+ year history. In just one day, 81 young people experiencing homelessness came through its doors. Since the pandemic, the number of young people going to the centre has increased by a third.

According to Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, around 20,000 young people faced homelessness in the capital last year. The charity estimates about a third of them may have struggled to get the assessment they’re legally entitled to under the Homelessness Reduction Act, meaning some were turned away without support. New Centrepoint-commissioned research suggests councils in London need nearly an additional £150m a year to meet their legal duty to these vulnerable young people.

Jackie Casey, New Horizon’s Outreach Manager said: “We have never seen such high numbers of young people needing our help, both by coming into the day centre and on the streets. It is a scandal that during our outreach shifts in London, we constantly meet new young people sleeping outside with nowhere to go.

“At NHYC one of the biggest drivers behind this increase in rough sleeping is the mass evictions from National Asylum Support Service (NASS) hotels. Despite getting positive decisions that they are refugees with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, many of those coming through our doors have been evicted from hotels with less than 7 days notice, far too many of whom have been forced into destitution and rough sleeping.

“We know under-25s experience homelessness differently to older adults; we often find them in 24-hour cafes, bus stations or stairwells. It is shocking so many of those we’ve met recently are young refugees who need support and protection to rebuild their lives.

“We also know young people sleeping rough are more likely to be targeted for criminal or sexual exploitation and don’t always have the knowledge to recognise whether they’re genuinely being offered help by someone or being groomed”.

Centrepoint’s Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns, Alicia Walker added: “The fact rough sleeping is continuing to rise in London, so many years after the Government promised to end it is nothing short of a national scandal. Significant investment into local authorities and tireless work by the charity sector, is admirable but it’s not enough.

“We need the government to meet its commitment to end rough sleeping and we already know it can be done. In the first Lockdown the Everyone In initiative got vulnerable people off the streets, guaranteeing them safe accommodation and access to support. This proves rough sleeping is, and has always been, a political choice.

“The cost of that political choice is abundantly clear: hundreds more vulnerable young people risking assault or worse because they have nowhere safe to stay and charities and local governments facing the impossible task of balancing already insufficient resources against surging demand. Politicians must first commit to further investment and avoid headline grabbing policies, such as closing of asylum accommodation and criminalisation of rough sleeping, that only serve to exacerbate demand on already-stretched services.”



  • Spokespeople available for interview. 
  • *
  • About Centrepoint: Centrepoint is the leading charity for homeless young people aged 16-25. Centrepoint supports nearly 13,000 vulnerable young people a year by providing accommodation, teaching valuable life skills, tackling their physical and mental health issues and working with them to get them into education or employment. The Freephone Centrepoint Helpline is available for any young person aged 16-25 worried about homelessness. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The Centrepoint Helpline number is: 0808 800 0661. HRH The Prince of Wales became Centrepoint’s Patron in 2005. For more information, please visit 

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