Rough sleeping in Camden rises again according to annual one night street-count

Rough sleeping in Camden has risen again. Picture: PA/Jonathan Brady

Rough sleeping in Camden has risen again. Picture: PA/Jonathan Brady - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Camden had the second highest number of rough sleepers in the country when the annual one-night ‘street-count’ was conducted last autumn, government figures released today show.

After 141 people were recorded sleeping rough in the borough – 14 more than at the same time last year – Cllr Nadia Shah, the cabinet member for safer communities, said it had “no place in the 21st century”. This means that the astonishing seven-fold rise between 2016 and 2017 hasn’t been reversed, but Cllr Shah said this masked some of the good work the Town Hall had been able to do in the last 12 months.

The street-count acts as a snapshot of rough sleepers nationally.

Cllr Shah said: “Rough sleeping in Camden, and across the country, has become a major issue over the last decade. This situation has been made worse by the cuts in services nationally.

“We are of course disappointed in the November street-count outcome. The overall increase however masks some positive trends in that we have been able to assist an increasing number of individuals to access support in their home area from across the UK.”

The councillor added that “the most significant factor” behind the increase was a greater number people from central and eastern Europe – who were unable to access public funds – bedding down for the night in Camden.

She said 60 per cent of those recorded in the autumn street-count fell into this category.

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Camden is investing £1.7m in rough sleeping services, while last summer it received £870,000 to help people off the streets.

Cllr Shah also called upon central government to increase its support to help deal with homelessness and rough sleeping at a national and local level.

Overall, England saw rough sleeping down 2 per cent, with 4,677 people recorded this time.

Kathy Mohan, chief executive of charity Housing Justice, said: “It is still simply unacceptable to see such numbers of people sleeping rough, enough to almost fill the Royal Albert Hall to capacity.

“Each person counted has their own story of personal tragedy and often failure of public policy.”

The only local authority to count more rough sleepers during the annual count was Westminster, where there were 306.

This year the government is monitoring rough sleeping closely, with street-counts to take place every second month.