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Agenda item

Rough Sleeping Data Analysis


Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy informed the meeting that following request from members on rough sleeping in Islington, the report provides the following details:


·       The report outlines the central Government data for rough sleeping in Islington, that the information was requested at the previous Housing Scrutiny meeting, that the performance data will ensure that Islington Council will indicate that it is the best housing service in the country.

·       It was noted that one person sleeping on the streets of Islington is one person too many, that elected members expressed concern about the numbers of people sleeping rough in Islington at a previous meeting.

·       Meeting was advised that the attached data in the report honestly and transparently shows rough sleeping in Islington over a longer period of time than the data provided through the quarterly performance data reporting framework allows.

·       The attached report allows members to critically appraise Council work and to assist with its Improvement plan.

·       Director advised that rough sleeping is soaring in London, with over 1,700 more people living on the streets of London compared to last year, a 21% rise, according to figures released from the Greater London Authority (GLA) on the 28th of June 2023. It should be noted as stated in the attached report, that Islington Council performance is actually far better than the rest of London.

·       It was noted that the increase from 8,329 people seen sleeping rough in London in 2021-22 to 10,053 sleeping rough in London in 2022-23 was described as “categorically terrible” by Rick Henderson, the chief executive of the Homeless Link frontline charity, and “extremely alarming” by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

·       Increase in rough sleeping is a result of the cost of living crisis, Brexit and the pandemic.

·       It was noted that although government made a manifesto commitment to “end the blight of rough sleeping by the end of the next parliament” and with 18 months to go it is looking increasingly unlikely this target will be met across London.

·       There is a particularly sharp rise in the number of people sleeping rough for the first time, up 26% on last year to 6,391. This trend in Islington is not the same and the majority of people sleeping rough for the first time in Islington have been sleeping rough in other parts of London but are new to sleeping on the streets of Islington. However, in this area it is clear the performance in Islington is better than the data released for other London Council’s.

·       Also the number of people who returned to living on the streets after more than a year without sleeping rough jumped to 1,578, a 31% increase. However, in Islington this is not the case.

·       It was noted that Council will require much more support from central government, and better cooperation between central Government departments if it intends to end rough sleeping in Islington.

·       It was reiterated that cost of living crisis is driving increases in homelessness and rough sleeping and the majority of the levers and controls to prevent homelessness and eliminating rough sleeping rests with central Government polices around the Local Housing Allowance rates, Welfare Benefits, the cost of living crisis and immigration policies.

·       Analysis published on the 27th of June 2023, by the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed only one in 20 private rented homes in Britain are now affordable to people relying on housing benefit– the lowest level on record.

·       Islington Council remains committed to eliminating rough sleeping so as to assist people to build a better future, that in comparison to other local authorities released by GLA, which is demonstrated by our performances.

·       On the question of discretionary housing payments, meeting was advised that this is not within the remit of Housing Services but the Community Wealth Building Team, that details can be provided.

·       Members were reminded this issue will remain a challenge for all local authorities in light of the cost of living crisis, universal credit changes, less funding from central government and lately Central government’s eviction notice to the 4000 Afghan living in bridging hotels on 31st October and the ending of the hosting arrangement with united kingdom households for the Ukraine refugee.

The Chair thanked officers for the update acknowledging that the myriad of factors causing the increase in rough sleeping across London and welcoming the efforts of the Council.

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