The number of people sleeping rough on London’s streets has increased by 13% in a year, according to figures from a homelessness charity. Westminster has the highest number of rough sleepers (2,442), followed by Lambeth, Camden, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and City of London, new figures show.
Research by Broadway Homelessness shows 6,437 people slept rough in 2012, almost double the number than when Boris Johnson became mayor in 2008. He pledged to eradicate rough sleeping in the capital by the end of 2012.
The figures produced by Chain – a homelessness database – showed 6,437 were sleeping rough in 2012 compared with 5,678 the previous year.
But the increase was lower than the 43% rise in rough sleepers seen between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The number of rough sleepers in the capital has steadily increased from 3,472 in 2008, when the current mayor came into power.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of homeless charity Crisis, said:
“The mayor of London pledged to eliminate rough sleeping in the capital by 2012. Instead we see today the number of people sleeping on London’s streets – in absolute destitution in one of the world’s richest cities – has more than doubled on Boris’s watch.”
Tom Copley, Labour’s City Hall housing spokesman called the figures “appalling”. He said:
“Boris Johnson made a very bold pledge in 2008 to end rough sleeping by the end of 2012. He reiterated that last year. Not only has he failed to hit the target but rough sleeping has increased every year that he’s been mayor.”
In 2009 BBC London reported on Boris Johnson’s vow to end homelessness in the capital. He blamed the situation on housing and economic crises and the government’s welfare reforms.
Rough sleeping hotspots
• Westminster – 2,442
• Lambeth – 585
• Camden – 468
• Southwark – 393
• Tower Hamlets – 326
• City of London – 284