Number of Islington rough sleepers dropped 25% last winter, data suggests
- Credit: Archant
Winter rough sleeping in Islington declined by a quarter last year compared to the year before, new statistics have suggested.
The data published by the latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) report was commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority and is based on the number of people seen rough sleeping by St Mungo’s outreach teams.
It found the number of rough sleepers in Islington decreased from 135 over October-December 2019 to 100 in October-December 2020 - a 25 per cent drop.
This comes after the government's ‘Everyone In’ campaign provided thousands of homeless Londoners with emergency hotel accommodation when the pandemic first broke out in the UK.
However, the figures drill down further to reveal the number of new rough sleepers increased by seven (13pc) to 59 people when comparing the two periods.
Additionally, 81 per cent of those seen rough sleeping in Islington in the time frame were men and the remaining 19pc identifying as female.
When comparing with the rest of London, out of 3,290 people sleeping rough, 2,770 (84pc) identified as men, 518 (16pc) as female and two as non-binary.
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Petra Salva, director of rough sleeping, Westminster and migrants services at St Mungo's, said: “Women tend to be less visible on the streets, relying on informal, hidden arrangements with family, friends and acquaintances.
“They are sometimes referred to as the ‘hidden homeless’ whilst men are often seen sleeping in bus shelters, parks or shop doorways.”
St Mungo's has put the findings into three categories; new rough sleepers, living on the streets and intermittent rough sleepers.
New rough sleepers are those who have not been contacted prior to the research period by outreach teams, while those living on the streets are people contacted frequently over a period of three weeks or more and intermittent rough sleepers indicate those previously sleeping rough - but not seen enough to be considered living on the streets.
In London overall, 3,307 people were seen sleeping rough in total in the last quarter of 2020, which is a nine per cent decrease on the period in 2019.
St Mungo’s Islington report also found 34 of the 100 rough sleepers were aged 26-35, which is two per cent higher than those aged 36-45.
In London overall, 996 of the 3,307 people were aged 36-45 - the highest tally at 30pc - while those aged 26-35 years were second by totalling 960 (29pc).
With those who are sleeping rough at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 due to poor conditions, Petra said: “St Mungo’s has been working tirelessly to ensure as many of our clients as possible can access the vaccine.
"And we welcome the government’s announcement to include people experiencing homelessness in the priority group to receive the vaccine, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). We know that homelessness and poor health are inextricably linked so it is vital our clients are able to access the vaccine as soon as possible.”