The number of rough sleepers in the Square Mile rose to 67 during autumn last year, up 86 per cent on the year before. Publication of an annual government report found the City of London to have the ninth-highest number of people sleeping in the open air of any local authority in England. There were 31 more rough sleepers in the City during October and November 2018 than across the same period in 2017.

These new figures are very worrying and confirm what many charity and health care workers already know. More and more people are forced to sleep rough on the streets of London. Indeed, rough sleeping is something often mentioned by local residents and City workers who are extremely concerned.

As deputy chair of the City’s homelessness and rough sleeping sub-committee I am working with fellow councillors to see what more we can do to stop this worrying trend. Together we are absolutely committed to addressing the root causes of homelessness”.

The City Corporation together with partners such as St Mungo’s has already taken extra steps to prevent rough sleeping, such organising temporary support hubs, provide extra funding for services, support a pan-London approach and looking at ways to tackle the underlying causes of rough sleeping and homelessness. But many City councillors like myself believe more can and should be done to help people find a path out of a life on the streets.

“This means looking into accommodating a permanent support hub in the Square Mile, strengthen our pan-London commitments and support a cross agency approach. We should also repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act to stop criminalisation of vulnerable people who need our support, not a criminal record.” – City Councillor Tijs Broeke

With freezing temperatures in the winter emergency shelters will be in place across London, and I would urge everyone who sees a rough sleeper to alert Street Link who can coordinate help.

www.streetlink.org.uk

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