A charity boss has hit out at the number of people sleeping rough in London as a "disgrace" as new findings reveal hundreds are without a home as the winter months approach.
There were a total of 2,659 rough sleepers seen on the capital's streets during July to September this year - a 3% rise since the previous quarter and a 1% rise since the same period last year.
And more than half (52%) of those seen by outreach services had mental health support needs, according to the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, (CHAIN) who collated the latest findings, published on November 3.
Rough sleepers accounted for in the study only include those encountered by a commissioned outreach worker bedded down on the street, or in other open spaces or locations not designed for habitation, such as doorways, stairwells, parks or derelict buildings.
The report does not include people from “hidden homeless” groups such as those “sofa surfing” or living in squats, unless they have also been spotted sleeping rough.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: "Any rise in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets is a disgrace.
"One person sleeping rough on the streets is one too many, let alone more than 2,600.
"Behind these statistics are thousands of desperate people, sleeping in doorways, bin shelters, stations and parks, leaving them extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on their physical and mental health.
"Every day, our frontline workers hear from clients who say they are being intimidated or abused, causing them mental health problems and even suicidal thoughts. No one should be sleeping rough on our streets – especially when we know that homelessness is not inevitable.
"As mayors across the country are making pledges to end rough sleeping, we need the Mayor of London do the same.
"We have come close to eradicating rough sleeping in the capital in the past - now it’s time we put an end this tragedy for good."The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, previously announced the creation of a new team to help homeless people who use Night Buses and Tubes as a place to sleep, by finding accommodation, providing access to support services, or reconnecting them with family and friends.
'One person ending up in this position is too many'
Mr Khan said: “Over the last year, we’ve seen the rise in rough sleeping halted for the first time in nearly a decade – but even one person ending up in this position is too many, and I am determined to make sure homeless people get the support they need.
“My new night-time transport team will work across our buses and Tubes to help people before they end up sleeping rough on the streets.
"I’ll continue to work closely with councils, homeless organisations, and Government to make sure there is a way off the street for every rough sleeper in London."
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