Brent records second highest increase in rough sleepers in London

The numbers of rough sleepers in the borough has increased

The numbers of rough sleepers in the borough has increased - Credit: Archant

Brent council recorded the second highest increase in rough sleepers in the capital last year new figures show.

Brent recorded the second highest increase in rough sleepers in London last year, new figures show.

According to the data, released by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), 307 people were sleeping on the borough’s streets between April 2013 and March 2014 -74 more than in 2012/13.

Only Newham saw a greater increase in rough sleepers with an increase of 78 from 202 by 2014.

The statistics were commissioned by the Greater London Authority.

Neighbouring borough, Barnet, ranked third, with an extra 61 people recorded, while Camden and Harrow had lesser figures of 33 and 16 respectively.

John Docey, director of community services at Cricklewood-based homelessness charity Ashford Place, previously told the Times the welfare reforms, changes in the local housing allowance rates, and increase in migration, particularly from Central Europe, has contributed to the problem.

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He said: “The lack of DSS [housing benefits], affordable private rented sector, again particularly for those under 35, and the abolition of crisis loans that were typically used for the deposit, has meant that sourcing long term accommodation has been extremely difficult.”

Brent Council plan to inject £200,000 into a rough sleeper’s programme which will see it divided into an outreach and a separate housing advice resettlement services.

The initiative was rubber stamped by cabinet members rubberstamped last month.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, suggests rough sleeper figures may not paint an accurate picture because they fluctuate depending on the days of the week.

He added: “People are struggling. There is a common saying that people are no more than one pay check away from being homeless.

“Making sure we do have people out their and making sure they stay out longer, that means earlier mornings and later evenings, so we can find these individuals and offer a range of support which will help get them back on their feet.”

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “Helping people off the streets quickly remains a key priority and during the last 12 months nine out of 10 rough sleepers were helped off streets within 24 hours in Brent.

“The Mayor will continue to work with boroughs, the government and voluntary sector organisations to try and eradicate rough sleeping in the capital.”

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