Rough Sleeping

Group photograph of the allotment gardening team at The Booth Centre, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester. In 1998 the Prime Minister set a target - that by 2002 the number of rough sleepers should be reduced by two thirds from 1,850. The target was met in 2001 and has been sustained since, with a number of 483 in 2008. The Government has set out a vision to work with partners to end rough sleeping by 2012. 

Ten years on from our first strategy, we are determined to make further progress.

On 18 November 2008, at the Crisis Conference in the City of London,  Homelessness Minister, Iain Wright MP launched the new rough sleeping strategy - No One Left Out - Communities ending rough sleeping, a fifteen point action plan that sets out our vision to work with partners to end rough sleeping by 2012. Developed with leading rough sleeping charities it will use action, advice and assistance across England to prevent the flow of people onto the streets, as well as to support those already there, to get off the streets into stability. 

To view a clip of Iain Wright launching the strategy go to http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd5Sq0lv99I (external link). Further information can be found in News Release: New goal to end rough sleeping - 18 November 2008.

We have also published an executive and ultra executive summary of the analysis of responses to the April 2008 discussion paper Rough sleeping: 10 years on.

Keep up to date with Communities and Local Government by following us on Twitter (external link).

Rough sleeper counts

We will keep the local counts as a useful measure of tracking trends over time. It is important that we are clear that the headline figure is the total of the counts undertaken during the year.

In areas that do not have a known or suspected rough sleeping problem, we do not ask local authorities to conduct a count and we will no longer ask local authorities that do not count to provide an annual estimate in their annual housing statistics return.  

A new approach called Street Needs Audit (SNA) will be developed to supplement the approach currently taken in the counts. The Street Needs Audit will gather more information about people found in the counts.

As well as information to identify individuals, counters will record whether there is an active action plan in place for the person and the lead agency that is taking responsibility.

We will consult on these changes and incorporate them in our revised count guidance. They are likely to be implemented in 2009.

Before undertaking a count of rough sleepers, all local authorities must contact Claire Vaughan at Communities and Local Government, at least one month before the count (see Further Information).

In 2007 Communities and Local Government published Guidance on Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping - to help local authorities, in partnership with other local agencies, to carry out a count of people sleeping rough in their area.  

Rough sleeping statistics

Street counts provide a useful snapshot of the number of people sleeping rough in a given geographical area on a single night. A full breakdown of the June 2008 figure is provided in the spreadsheet - Rough Sleeping Estimate : June 2008. This shows the results of the street counts, taken between January 2007 and May 2008.

Further information

For further enquiries relating to rough sleeping or carrying out street counts, please contact:

Claire Vaughan
Homelessness, Overcrowding and Worklessness Division
Zone 1/B4
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU
Telephone: 020 7944 8781
Email: claire.vaughan@communities.gsi.gov.uk  

Related downloads

Do you need help viewing file formats?

Related publications

You may also be interested in …

On this site

On other sites

My favourites