Large disparity in rough sleeper counts

A count of rough sleepers in London has found more than double the number reported by the government’s last official count.

Homelessness charity the Simon Community found 345 people across six boroughs on the night of 29 October. The most recent government count, in March, located 191 in the same areas: Camden, Southwark, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, City of London and Westminster.

The Simon Community counted the highest number of rough sleepers – 247 – in Westminster, a rise from the government figure of 133 in the area in March.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said that while other counts were “useful”, the government had “the most accurate measure” of the problem. She added: “The latest rough-sleeping estimates show a 75 per cent fall since 1998. However, we are working with the London boroughs to achieve further reductions, supported by a £90m hostel improvement programme.”

The next government street count is due to take place on 23 November.

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