The recently published Chain report* collates data from outreach services across London and shows a borough by borough picture of rough sleeping in 2020 – 2021 across the capital.
While the report contained no real surprises, in our local community of Tower Hamlets, the picture is mixed. Although evidence shows that rough sleeping reduced by 5% to 400 people it also showed that 55% of the people sleeping rough were new rough sleepers.
The impact of the pandemic has also been mixed. Although the government’s Everyone In campaign resulted in 77% of rough sleepers in Tower Hamlets (33% generally across London) being placed into hubs, shelters and emergency accommodation, following on from this 18% of rough sleepers were placed into temporary accommodation and only 5% into long term accommodation.
‘In March 2020, 30,000 rough sleepers across the UK were placed into emergency accommodation. This was an incredible accomplishment but it needs to go further. We believe that homelessness can be prevented, that support needs to be made available to stop vulnerable people losing their homes and that an increase in supply in affordable accommodation must be made available’.
Tom O’Connor, Chief Executive, Providence Row
The report also recorded the support that people sleeping on the streets needed. The most frequent type of support needed in Tower Hamlets was for drugs with 58% of people needing support, 50% of people needed support with their mental health. The figures also showed that 60% of people rough sleeping in Tower Hamlets are from the UK and 40% of them are aged between 36-45.
Our services throughout the pandemic have focused on providing support to rough sleepers and those in vulnerable accommodation across Tower Hamlets. In the first lockdown, during the Everyone In campaign, Providence Row supported a total of 122 people who were housed across 3 Covid19 hostels, our team provided 24 hour coverage 7 days a week, carrying out welfare checks, providing psychological support, conducting health assessments and distributing health and hygiene packs and delivering meals.
As part of our ongoing support for rough sleepers in the local area, we are currently looking forward to the 19th July when we will open our Resource Centre again. The centre provides a safe place and community for rough sleepers with breakfast & lunch, showers, charging stations and online access.
See our current support for people sleeping on the streets.
* CHAIN is a multi-agency database recording information about people sleeping rough and the wider street population in London. The system, which is commissioned and funded by the Mayor of London and managed by St Mungo's, represents the UK's most detailed and comprehensive source of information about rough sleeping.