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Catching Lives responds to Rough Sleeping Snapshot in England 

Today (Thursday, February 29) the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities published its annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot in England for Autumn 2023, which provides information about the estimated number of people sleeping rough on a single night between October 1 and November 30. 

Key findings: 

  • The number of people estimated to be sleeping rough in Canterbury increased by 50 per cent from 2022 (22 people) to 2023 (33 people). This is the biggest increase in Canterbury since 2019. This is 11 times the number of rough sleepers estimated in 2010 (three) when records began. 
  • In Canterbury, 2023 figures included four females and 27 males (two unknown). 24 of the people fell into the aged over 26 category and one aged 18 to 25 (eight unknown). The number of people estimated to be sleeping rough in England increased by 27 per cent from 2022 (3,069 people) to 2023 (3,898 people). The national figure represents the largest annual increase since 2015 and is more than double (120%) the number of people estimated to have been sleeping rough in 2010 when records began.   
  • Every single region in England saw an increase from 2022 to 2023. 
  • 17 per cent of the total number of people estimated to be sleeping rough in England were in the South East. The largest percentage after London. 

In response to the statistics, Tasmin Maitland, Chief Executive of Catching Lives, said: 

“It is devastating to see such a big increase in rough sleeping reflected in the latest snapshot. Every person homeless is one too many and it is appalling that so many people have no option but to sleep rough. Sadly, these new figures reflect our experience at Catching Lives in Canterbury of a rising need for homelessness services. Our client numbers are increasing and we’re regularly seeing up to 50 people a day in our drop-in. 

“Rough sleeping is traumatic and affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The rise in rough sleeping numbers highlights the desperate need for action from Government around housing supply and security, but also action to help people cope with the other pressures that drive homelessness. For years, homelessness charities have been calling for more truly affordable social housing, a better welfare safety net and responsive mental health support. We need the Government to tackle these issues, as small charities like Catching Lives cannot be left to fill the gaps.”  

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