‘Lessons to be learned’ on rough sleeping

The number of rough sleepers accommodated during the ‘Everyone in’ initiative over several months “far exceeds” the number recorded in the Government’s annual national snapshot of the rough sleeper population, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The report, ‘Investigation into the housing of rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic’, says the emergency response during the first wave of the pandemic had raised issues that need to be addressed if the Government is to achieve its goal of ending rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

Figures show that, in the autumn of 2019, the Government’s annual snapshot estimated that there were 4,266 people sleeping rough on any given night, compared with the more than 33,000 people who were helped by ‘Everyone in’.

The NAO said understanding the size of the rough-sleeping population and who needs essential support is key if the Government is to achieve its ambition of ending rough sleeping.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Housing Spokesperson, said: “The success of the ‘Everyone in’ initiative in getting people sleeping rough off the streets and saving lives shows that we can end the vast majority of rough sleeping. 

“As this report suggests, it is vital that we build on the lessons learned, and strive to make this the new normal, rather than a one-off emergency response.”

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