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Nine rough sleepers in Barnet – as numbers across England soar

The latest estimate is based on a snapshot of a single night in autumn last year reports Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter

A homeless person in a sleeping bag in a doorway
Nationally, the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough rose by 27% last year to 3,898 – (Credit – Radar)

Nine people were sleeping rough in Barnet last year, new estimates show.

It comes as numbers across England soared, with homelessness charities blaming the government’s “ineffectiveness” to solve the housing crisis.

The government previously pledged to end rough sleeping by 2024, but since the “Everyone In” scheme – which housed homeless people in emergency hotels during the coronavirus pandemic – ended in 2021, the number of people sleeping on the streets has rocketed.

The latest Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities figures show nine people were estimated to be sleeping rough in Barnet based on a snapshot of a single night in autumn last year – up slightly from eight the year before.

Nationally, the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough rose by 27% last year to 3,898.

This remains below pre-pandemic levels, but represents a significant increase of 60% in the last two years.

The count includes people sleeping outside, but does not cover sofa surfers, those in hostels or shelters, or people in recreational or traveller sites, and figures are generally considered to be an undercount of the true number.

Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, said the scale of rough sleeping is a “source of national shame”.

Downie urged the Government to rethink its strategy and provide long-term funding for proven solutions which help people get off the streets.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the Government “cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the housing emergency”.

Neate said the Government has not built enough social homes, forcing thousands of people to “spend their nights freezing on street corners” due to record high rents.

Neate also warned of the record high number of people living in temporary accommodation.

Further DLUHC figures show 109,000 households in England were living in temporary accommodation as of September.

This was up 10% on the last year, and the highest figure on record.

It included 2,176 households in Barnet – a rise of 8% on the year before.

Meanwhile, the number of children living in temporary accommodation also hit a record-high 142,490, including 2,414 in Barnet.

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “We are now spending an unprecedented £2.4 billion to help people at risk of homelessness and support rough sleepers, including £220 million announced this week, which will help fund thousands of beds and specialist support services across the country through councils.

“Whilst we have made good progress and rough sleeping remains below pre-pandemic levels, there is more work to be done to meet our ambition to end it entirely, and we will continue to work with local authorities to help people off the streets for good.”


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