More than 150,000 people are homeless in London today
Shelter warns of bleak start to 2023 for those without a place to call home
New research from Shelter shows more than 150,000 people are recorded as homeless in London, including nearly 74,000 children.
Shelter’s detailed analysis of official homelessness figures and responses to a Freedom of Information request shows that one in 58 people in London are without a home. Of these, 640 people are sleeping rough on any given night and 148,870 are living in temporary accommodation – most of whom are families.
Across England the number of people living in temporary accommodation has risen by an alarming 74% in the last 10 years – something the charity argues is driven by the chronic shortage of social homes, and an over-reliance on grossly expensive and unstable private renting.
More than two-thirds of families (68%) living in temporary accommodation in England have been there for over a year, showing this type of accommodation is becoming less and less “temporary” as families cannot escape homelessness due to the severe lack of affordable homes. This is a situation made even worse by the three-year freeze on housing benefit, and cost of living crisis.
As well as calculating the total number of homeless people, Shelter has undertaken the largest ever survey of homeless households living in temporary accommodation. The ground-breaking research found that living in temporary accommodation has a hugely detrimental impact on people’s health. It revealed that in London:
- Two-thirds of people (66%) say that living in temporary accommodation has had a negative impact on their mental health.
- More than half (52%) say that it has had a negative impact on their physical health.
- Two in five people (39%) say that living in temporary accommodation has made it harder to access healthcare appointments.
Shelter is issuing an urgent appeal for public support as it braces for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. An average of 347 calls per day from people in London are made to the charity’s emergency helpline. Across England eight in ten (78%) callers are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless – a figure which has increased by 8% since last year.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The new year should be a time of hope, but this isn’t the case for the over 150,000 homeless people in London who are facing a truly bleak 2023. A cold doorway or a grotty hostel room is not a home, but this is reality for too many people today.
“Our frontline advisers are working tirelessly to help people who are desperate to escape homelessness – from the parents doing all they can to provide some shred of a normal family life while stuck in an emergency B&B, to the person terrified of another night sleeping rough.
“With private rents and living costs continuing to soar, thousands of people are not just facing a winter of worry, they are at risk of losing the roof over their head. At Shelter, we are bracing ourselves for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. More than ever, we will be relying on the public’s generosity to help us support and campaign for all those fighting for a safe home.”
Shelter’s new research also reveals the areas across London where homelessness is most acute. Newham comes out worst, with one in 21 people homeless, one in 27 people are homeless in Westminster, followed by Haringey where one in 33 people are homeless.
While Shelter’s analysis is the most comprehensive overview of recorded homelessness in the country, the true figure is likely to be much higher as some types of homelessness go entirely undocumented, such as sofa surfing.
To donate to Shelter’s Winter Appeal and help to give people fighting homelessness the urgent support, security and hope they need in the tough months ahead, visit shelter.org.uk/donate.
Notes to Editors
Analysis of recorded homelessness
See ‘Notes and references for tables’ for details of sources and methods.
Table 1: Estimated number of people who are homeless as at a given night in 2022, by type of homelessness, London
| Est. no. of people homeless and living in TA arranged by the council|| Est. no. of people homeless and living in TA arranged by them or homeless at home|| No. of people sleeping on the streets on a given night|| No. of homeless children in TA|| Est. total no. homeless people|| Rate of homelessness (1 in X people)|
Table 2: Top 10 highest local rates of people who are homeless (living in temporary accommodation or sleeping on the streets), London
|Reg. rank||Local authority|| Est. no. of people homeless and living in TA arranged by the council|| Est. no. of people homeless and living in TA arranged by them or homeless at home|| No. of people sleeping on the streets on a given night|| No. of homeless children in TA|| Est. total no. homeless people|| Rate of homelessness (1 in X people)|
|9||Barking and Dagenham||4,411||0||0||2,408||4,411||50|
About Shelter: Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Learn more at www.shelter.org.uk.
About Shelter’s Winter Appeal 2022: Join Shelter now in the fight against homelessness and bad housing. Our expert advisers are working with communities across the country, they are taking calls at our emergency helpline, and they are giving online advice to millions through our website. But as more people turn to Shelter, we need the public to help us be there. Give what you can and together we can provide free advice and support to thousands of families facing homelessness this winter. Visit www.shelter.org.uk/donate