Charities warn against complacency after government claims dramatic fall in rough sleepers

    Homelessness charities have warned ministers against
    complacency, after the government revealed that the number of
    people sleeping rough has fallen by well over half in three

    The rough sleepers unit’s progress report on the
    government’s strategy to reduce street sleeping estimates
    there are around 700 people sleeping rough in England, compared
    with 1,850 in 1998. The government’s target is to reduce the
    number of rough sleepers by at least two thirds by 2002.

    Homelessness charities have warned that while people are leaving
    the streets, a heavy flow of new rough sleepers continues.

    “Evidence suggests that the total number of people experiencing
    street homelessness in a year is far greater than the numbers found
    at the time of a count,” a coalition of homelessness groups,
    including Shelter, Crisis and Centrepoint, said in a statement.

    In the first four months of this year, Shelter helped 1,320
    people in London who had experienced street homelessness.

    Ceri Sheppard, acting director of the Homelessness Network, said
    resources need to be in place to deal with the flow of
    newly-homeless people.

    “This needs co-ordination of government policy particularly on
    housing, drugs, crime, health, community care, prison and army
    discharge policy and support for vulnerable people,” she said.
















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