On 27th February 2020 the government published the latest statistics on rough sleeping in the UK. In autumn 2019 all Local Authorities across England were required to provide a snapshot to reflect the number of people sleeping rough in their area, either by carrying out a count of visible rough sleepers on one night, by carrying out an evidence-based estimate meeting with local agencies (such as homelessness charities), or through an evidence-based estimate meeting and a spotlight count in specific areas.
Canterbury City Council reported an estimate of 39 rough sleepers on Canterbury’s streets. Here is Catching Lives statement in response to the latest figures.
“Catchinglives has been working with Canterbury City Council (CCC) on the Rough Sleeper Initiative since March 2018 and we are very positive about the work that has been done to help rough sleepers across the Local Authority area, but, we feel that we should comment on the recently announced rough sleeper figures.
We took part in the official annual estimate, alongside CCC, in November but had some concerns about the final number reported for Canterbury. CCC discounted at least 10 rough sleepers who were not seen on the night of the count, but that we knew were rough sleeping based on our own knowledge and evidence. We appreciate all of the hard work being done in Canterbury and around the country but we believe that under-reporting, in any way, is unhelpful. Producing a set of statistics that shows a national decrease in rough sleeping, when the experience of most services is that it is increasing, only causes confusion and may allow complacency to set in.
The extra work being undertaken with rough sleepers, funded by our national government, is much needed, but without addressing the underlying causes (a lack of truly affordable accommodation, a lack of support, poor mental health services and the huge cuts that have been made to all kinds of services over the last 10 years) this current funding can only be a bandage.
Our own statistics show a year on year increase. In 2019 we saw 479 individuals at our daycentre in Canterbury, the highest figure since 2016. Already, this year we have seen an increase in individuals accessing our services. During the first 2 months of 2019, 164 people approached us for assistance; in 2020 this has risen to 202, an increase of 23%.”
If anyone has any further comments to make in relation to this please contact Terry Gore at email@example.com