Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK, says the latest “shocking” statistics shows the housing system in the UK is in drastic need of change, with the number of people sleeping rough rising 27% according to new Government figures.

The figures released today (Thursday 29 February) by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, show an estimated 3,893 people were sleeping on the streets in England, an increase of 824 from last year. Rough sleeping has increased in every region of England.

Charlotte warns that these figures barely scratch the surface when it comes to the amount of people experiencing homelessness.

She said: “We know that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true number of people experiencing homelessness.

“Shocking as these numbers are, they don’t account for people stuck in temporary accommodation, people who are sofa surfing, or staying in hostels. They don’t include people sleeping in cars, or those who seek shelter in a café or on public transport. And they don’t include people who are simply missed during the count because they’re hidden and out of sight.

“Homelessness is rising and here at Emmaus we’re doing all we can by providing a home, meaningful work opportunities and a sense of belonging for as long as it is needed, but ultimately the housing system in the UK is in drastic need of change.

“More and more people are being forced out of their homes at a time when councils are cutting services due to severe funding deficits. The Government must act to prevent more people being forced into homelessness and to support the thousands of people forced to live without a home.

“We have joined other leading homelessness charities in signing an open letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, calling on him to provide urgent funding in the upcoming Spring Budget. We hope this message, coupled with the figures released today, are the catalyst needed to bring about change.”

About the rough sleeping figures

The rough sleeping snapshot was compiled on a single night in autumn 2023. The figures were collected by local authorities who either conduct a count or submit an estimate of the number of people sleeping rough on that night.

About Emmaus

Emmaus supports adults who are homeless, vulnerably housed or at risk. Emmaus communities offer a home for as long as it is needed, giving each person the stability and security to rebuild their life after experiencing homelessness.

Find out how to get help from Emmaus.