Number of Britons sleeping on streets rises dramatically
A new official figure shows the number of homeless sleeping on the streets across England has doubled since 2010.
According to the data, 3,569 people are sleeping rough on any one night, a 30% increase compare to the last year’s figure.
“Scandalous” and “shocking,” were how British charities described the figure urging the government for new measure to deal with the situation.
“There are practical and immediate measures the government can take to tackle rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness”, said Crisis, a charity working for homeless.
The situation in the British capital remains chaotic where a snapshot count last year found 940 people sleeping on the streets with the area around Westminster having the highest. In London, 43% of people sleeping rough are from the UK, 36% are from central and eastern Europe, with 18% of the total from Romania.
The last figure includes people with mental health problems that have tripled in London from 711 in 2009-10 to 2,343, in 2014-15. It says that four in 10 rough sleepers now are mentally ill.
In a recent survey conducted by the charity St Mungo, 62% of the homelessness professionals said they had noticed an increase in the number of people with mental health problems sleeping rough in their area.
Some campaigners have attributed the rise to cuts in mental health services. “Funding’s been cut, which means staffing goes down, which means thresholds for accessing those services increases.” Dan Dumoulin, St Mungo’s policy officer said.
“People’s mental health problems tend to get more severe as people stay on the streets for longer, it’s often the case where people have to deteriorate to the point where they’re sectionable or where the police can remove them for their own safety.”
The figures, however, come as little surprise to those who have noted a visible rise in the number of tents in parks and people in sleeping bags in big cities.The sharp rise coincides with the government’s ending of funding for its “No Second Night Out” program to prevent rough sleeping.
“No one should ever have to sleep rough, which is why we have increased central funding to tackle homelessness over the next four years to £139m,” homelessness minister Marcus Jones said while reacting to the figures.