Official figures on the levels of rough sleeping across England were released today (February 24, 2022). According to the latest figures, collected in the Autumn of 2021, 2400 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night.
The figure for Norwich was 10, half the number recorded last year. Nationally, there was a decrease of 9% from 2020 to 2021,
Figures in recent years in Norwich
- 2021: 10
- 2020: 21
- 2019: 18
- 2018: 21
- 2017: 30
- 2016: 34
Is it accurate?
The official street count is conducted on one night of the year in towns and cities across England and is intended to provide a snapshot of the rough sleeping picture. In Norwich, regular street counts are done throughout the year by the Pathways service – and we are consistently seeing between 5 and 12 people on the streets of Norwich on any given night. These are not always the same people. As quickly as people are housed, new people arrive on the street.
This year’s figures
Ten people is still ten too many. We have a vision that no one will be sleeping on our streets. However, we are pleased that Norwich has seen a dramatic reduction in numbers. The pandemic has caused immense pressure on people’s finances, relationships and physical and mental health, and we have seen this impact on the circumstances of people we support who are sleeping rough.
What support is out there?
There are a range of services available to people sleeping rough and the response in Norwich is robust and offered in partnership with organisations, charities and the local authority.
Winter Night Shelter. Organised by Norwich City Council, the Winter Night Shelter is open until the end of March. It runs at two churches in Norwich and people are referred to it. It is available to people who have no recourse to public funds, and, unlike a hostel, there is no obligation for people to use it every night. It has proved to be a valuable extra resource during the cold winter months.
Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub. Run by St Martins, the Hub is open 24 hours a day and offers temporary accommodation and support to people who would otherwise be sleeping rough. The accommodation is arranged an private ‘pods’ with access to a shower and hot drinks.
Street Break Thanks to NCF funding and donations from the public, we are able to put people up in hotel rooms on a short term basis and also provide support alongside the provision of the room so visitors move on to something more permanent.
Pathways A partnership offering specialist support to people on the streets. This includes criminal justice liaison, support for young people, support for women and medical specialism. The Pathways services offers advice, accommodation and referral to other services in a person-centred way, recognising that there is not one single solution to homelessness. Members of the Pathways team are based at the Arc, a safe and welcoming drop-in centre run by The Salvation Army that facilitates engagement with specialist support and offers refreshments, access to washing facilities and a compassionate advocacy service.
A look at the national figures
- The number of people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn has fallen for the fourth year in a row from its peak in 2017. At the same time, the number of people estimated to be currently in emergency accommodation has fallen by over half on
the same period last year.
- The snapshot overall remains higher than 2010 when the snapshot approach was introduced.
- There were 2,440 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2021. This is down by 250 people or 9 % from last year and down 49 % from the peak in 2017 but is up by 670 people or 38 % since 2010. At the same time, the number of people estimated to be in emergency & short-term accommodation in November is down 5,490 people or 56% from the same period last year.
- Rough sleeping decreased in every region of England compared to the previous year. The largest decrease in the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough was in London, where there were 640 people this year compared to 710 people last year. This is down by 70 people or 10 % from last year.