Rough sleeping in Islington rose by a third last year according to new figures from the Greater London Authority.

Islington Gazette: A homeless man outside Highbury & Islington station. Photo: Polly HancockA homeless man outside Highbury & Islington station. Photo: Polly Hancock (Image: Archant)

In a 12-month period from April 2019 and March 2020, 367 rough sleepers were recorded on the borough’s streets. compared to 276 the previous year.

Out of those, 219, or 60 per cent, had never slept rough before.

In Islington, 38pc of all of new rough sleepers, or 41 people, had been living in long term accomodation - mainly privately rented accomodation - before being made homeless, and a third of them had been asked to leave by their landlords, or were evicted because of rent arrears.

Local London Assembly Member, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, has warned homeless figures “could get even worse” in the next few months unless the government steps in to further protect renters and support those struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the lockdown period, the ‘Everyone In’ campaign, co-ordinated by the GLA, local councils and the government, provided 4,000 homeless Londoners with emergency hotel accommodation.

In March the Government announced a temporary ban on evictions, which has now been extended to September 23, and in April pledged to ban section 21 or ‘no fault’ evictions, which allows landlords to require their tenants to vacate their property at two months’ notice, without having to provide a reason.

City Hall has urged the government to take further measures to prevent another spike in homelessness coinciding with a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic this winter.

These include strengthening protections for tenants in the private rented sector and increasing support for Londoners with no recourse to public funds.

Ms Arnold said: “We are facing a recession and a potential second wave of the pandemic, we need to act now to protect those who are vulnerable.

“The good news is that we have recently seen what can be done when the Government works collaboratively with the Mayor and local authorities on this issue.

“We cannot allow this positive momentum to be lost, and the Government now needs to put stronger protections in place to protect renters and dramatically increase support for those most at risk of ending up homeless.”