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Increased London’s homelessness
Rough sleepers who aren’t struggling with drink, drugs or mental health issues soared by 84% in London after the first lockdown in 2020 and continue to remain high, according to a new report from the London Assembly Housing Committee.

The London-based rough sleeping programmes received at least £119m of funding in City Hall and the 33 boroughs in 2019/20. The scheme placed 6,000 rough sleepers in London hotels since the pandemic began.

A more diverse number of people turned to the streets in 2020, perhaps due to problems at home, unable to stay with friends, or having lost their job in the recession.

The latest data shows that under 25s have increased by half compared to this time last year, one in six are Black or Black British, the third-largest ethnic group rough sleeping, and a third more are African rough sleepers compared to this time last year.

The Assembly’s five-point plan would tackle homelessness, supporting at least 10,000 rough sleepers a year to find a long-term home.

The five-point strategy includes Mayoral leadership to build better collaboration between health workers, charities and local authorities, and improved legal advice for European nationals and people who cannot get state welfare.

Assembly member Murad Qureshi, Chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee, said:

“Last year, we saw a huge multi-agency effort to help homeless people into safe accommodation. It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for that to happen. The time has come to seize the opportunity and build on the success of charity, authorities and health service collaboration.

“Londoners now need to see that effort continue, but with dedicated support too. People sleeping on the streets need specialised services rather than a one-size-fits-all plan. A person with extreme addictions does not need the same support as someone fleeing domestic abuse.

“The city deserves stronger action for ending homelessness. The five-point plan lays out how the Mayor’s strategy can respond to rough sleepers who are LGBT, young people or jobless. The Government’s national leadership and funding is key. London can lead the way in solving the homelessness problem once and for all.” 16/01/2021