People sleeping rough in London by country/continent of origin (2008/09 - 2022/23)
The number of people sleeping rough in London more than tripled between 2008/09 and 2020/21 from around 3,472 to 11,018. 2021/22 saw the number fall back somewhat to 8,329 but it increased again in 2022/23 to 10,053.
Most people sleeping rough are white, although across the time series the number of BAME people sleeping rough has risen faster than the number of white people. Of the people whose country/continent of origin is known, just under half are British citizens, with people from the rest of Europe making up most of the rest. A large majority (83%) of people sleeping rough in London are men.
More people sleep rough in Central London than in any other part of the capital. This is consistently the case, but the proportion of people sleeping rough who do so in Central London reducing over the 15 year period from more than three quarters to less than half primarily driven by a rise in rough sleeping in East London.
The number of people seen sleeping rough in London increased in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, despite initiatives like “Everybody In” which aimed to ensure that people sleeping rough were adequately sheltered during the pandemic. This may in part be because the measure used here counts the number of individuals known to sleep rough in a year, not the amount of time they were sleeping rough for.
This information comes from CHAIN, a database about people sleeping rough in London maintained by charity outreach workers. It contains a record for everyone known to staff and volunteers throughout the specified year.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) also produces snapshot estimates of rough sleeping. These provide much lower estimates of rough sleeping, as they are based on a single night, rather than across a full year.