Falling numbers of rough sleepers on the streets of Chesterfield

The number of people sleeping rough in Chesterfield has fallen, figures suggest.

By Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 12:01 pm

Charities have welcomed a drop in the number of people bedding down on the streets across England, but warned more must be done for the Government to reach its target of eradicating homelessness by 2024.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows there were five rough sleepers in Chesterfield during a spot check one night between October and November last year. This was down from nine in 2020 and 13 in 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Fewer people are sleeping rough in the town, according to latest figures

Across England, the number of rough sleepers fell from 2,690 in 2020 to 2,440 last year.

It also represented a 43% decrease compared to 2019, when 4,270 rough sleepers were recorded.

The significant decline followed the launch of the Government’s Everyone In scheme, which provided councils with additional funding to house homeless people during the pandemic.

Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister Eddie Hughes said: "The Government remains focused on ending rough sleeping by the end of this parliament and we’re making excellent progress towards this.

"These figures are testament to that, showing our investment is helping more people have a roof over their heads and the best possible chance of turning their lives around.”

While rough sleeping has declined in recent years, the latest figure represents a 38% increase from the 1,770 rough sleepers counted in England in 2010, when records began.

In Chesterfield, there were six rough sleepers in 2010.

The count includes people sleeping outside, but does not cover sofa surfers, those in hostels or shelters or people in recreational or traveller sites.

Osama Bhutta, director of campaigns at housing charity Shelter, said the figures "show the race to end rough sleeping has started but it’s far from over".

He added that the looming cost-of-living crisis and lack of suitable long-term homes means "we’re now at a fork in the road".

Mr Bhutta said the Government cannot meet its 2024 target without a "proper plan to tackle the root causes" .

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says it is providing £2 billion over the next three years to end homelessness, including supplying 6,000 homes through the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme, and is committed to publishing its Rough Sleeping Strategy, though a timeframe has not been provided.”