Rough sleeping in Mansfield doubles in nine years

Rough sleeping in Mansfield has more than doubled since 2010, official figures show.

Charity Crisis has urged the Government to do more to tackle the root causes of homelessness, calling the scale of rough sleeping a "damning reflection on our society".

Rough sleeping in Mansfield has more than doubled since 2010, official figures show.

Rough sleeping in Mansfield has more than doubled since 2010, official figures show.

The council estimated that 17 people were sleeping on the streets in Mansfield during a spot check on one night last autumn, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This is a 143 percent increase from 2010, when an estimate put the number of rough sleepers at seven.

Charities think official figures are likely an underestimation, as many rough sleepers stay in hard-to-find places.

The MHCLG compares different areas by working out the number of rough sleepers as a proportion of all households.

Mansfield has a rate of four rough sleepers for every 1,000 households, one of the highest in the country.

Local authorities across England estimated there were 4,677 people sleeping rough on the same night last autumn.

This was a slight drop from the previous year when 4,751 rough sleepers were counted - the first decrease for eight years.

However, the number of rough sleepers has increased significantly since 2010, when there were just 1,768 recorded cases.

Housing charity Shelter blamed a lack of social housing, spiralling rents, and a "faulty" benefits system for the dramatic rise in the number of rough sleepers.

Chief executive Polly Neate said: "We welcome many of the things that the Government has been doing to seek to improve services for rough sleepers, but without fundamental action to tackle the root causes of homelessness these measures will only achieve so much."

In Mansfield, 14 of the rough sleepers recorded last autumn were male and three were female.

Of those who had their age recorded, all were 26 or over.

UK residents accounted for 12 of the rough sleepers (71 per cent) while five were from the EU. None were from outside of the EU.

Paul Nobet, head of public affairs at homelessness charity Centrepoint, warned that there were many more hidden homeless people living in unsafe accommodation, who were not recorded in the rough sleeper count.

He said: "These snapshot statistics may show a slight decrease in the number of people rough sleeping, but these figures are only the tip of a much larger iceberg."

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, has warned that preventing rough sleeping is "becoming increasingly difficult", citing a funding gap of more than £100 million for homelessness services in 2019-20.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire welcomed the drop, citing Government strategy backed by nearly £100 million of investment as reason for the downturn.

"The number of vulnerable people sleeping on our streets has now fallen for the first time in eight years," he said.

"But while these figures are undoubtedly a step in the right direction, I do not underestimate the task ahead in achieving our ambition of eliminating rough sleeping altogether by 2027."

Councillor Barry Answer, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Mansfield District Council, like towns and cities across the country, is working hard to deal with the complex issue of homelessness and to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

“The council's multi-agency task force uses dedicated outreach workers who are specialists in mental health and substance abuse to tackle the root causes of homelessness. They repeatedly offer help and support to enable rough sleepers to move into settled accommodation as quickly as possible.

“The council is working with local churches and Derby City Mission to run a shelter seven nights a week from December to March, and continues to support a co-ordinated approach through the Mansfield Homeless Network.

“Find out what help is already available and how you can help at www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk.
“If you are concerned about someone who appears to be rough sleeping, contact the outreach team on 0800 0665356 or text SOTS to 80800 followed by your message.”