Two-thirds of rough sleepers come in from the cold

9 Aug 01
The number of people sleeping rough has fallen by almost two thirds over the past three years, according to figures released this week.

10 August 2001

Data from the government's Rough Sleepers Unit showed that 703 people are sleeping rough in England compared with 1,850 in 1998. The government has set itself a target of reducing the number of people sleeping rough by at least two-thirds by 2002. Just over half of rough sleepers are in London, where numbers fell from 621 to 357. The largest number is in Westminster, which saw a fall from 237 to 169.

The figures coincide with publication on August 4 of a progress report, Coming in from the cold, outlining the work of the unit to date and how it aims to avoid a new generation of rough sleepers from appearing on the streets.

In the past year, the unit has dealt with more than 3,000 cases of people coming off the streets – at least temporarily. Many have been receiving help with drug and alcohol addictions, or with combating mental health problems.

Louise Casey, head of the unit, praised charities, local authorities and members of the public for their support. 'It's vital that all our efforts continue to ensure that anyone who needs it has an alternative to a doorway,' she added.


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