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Government cuts blamed as rough sleeping increases for fourth year in a row

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Government cuts blamed as rough sleeping increases for fourth year in a row

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Government cuts blamed as rough sleeping increases for fourth year in a row Government cuts blamed as rough sleeping increases for fourth year in a row

Rough sleeping in England has increased for the fourth year in a row, according to figures published today.

The government’s own rough sleeping statistics state that in 2013 an estimated 2,414 people were sleeping rough on any one night.

Although the numbers have risen continually for the last four years, the rate of increase this year has reduced to 5% compared to 37% in 2010.

The picture across England is variable, with around half of areas seeing a decrease and the other half seeing an increase.

According to Homeless Link, decreases are largely down to charities working hard to find and house those who end up on the streets.

In areas where increases have occurred, the pressures of welfare reform and funding cuts have been the main driver. In Derby for example, where last year the city council began a programme of 82% cuts, estimated rough sleeping numbers have risen by 95% in the same period.

Responding to the figures, Rick Henderson, chief executive of umbrella body Homeless Link, said: “Any increase in rough sleeping is bad news, but we are encouraged that homelessness services been able to contain this issue that is so damaging to people and communities.

"This has been possible because many local authorities have understood the essential nature of these services and attempted to protect funding, despite facing increasing financial pressure.

“Our own research shows that rough sleepers are getting help more quickly and fewer are ending back up on the streets. However, without this essential help in place, rough sleeping can quickly spiral out of control. In Derby for example, they have slashed funding and seen rough sleeping numbers nearly double.”

“There are many issues, such as welfare reform, that could lead to further rises in rough sleeping. This should serve as a clear warning sign that cutting funding for housing related supported now will have a serious impact in the future.”

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