Homelessness in London is on the rise – as it across the UK. We’re all still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, we’re living through a worrying cost of living crisis and local authority spending on homelessness has dropped everywhere. So, what makes homelessness in our capital city any different to the rest of the country?  

With a large population, extortionate rental rates, and an unfair benefit cap, Londoners are under more pressure than ever before and facing very limited options. It can feel like the cards are stacked against us.

Here are some facts you should know about London’s homelessness crisis: 

  • London’s population is nine times bigger than the second largest UK city, Birmingham. But there aren’t nine times more homes for everyone and there is a chronic shortage of social housing.

  • The Government has set an unrealistically low cap on the financial support our fellow citizens can receive. This means that Londoners are pushed into using the money they need for bills and daily living costs to pay for their rent. Some Londoners could be left with just £3.72 per month to live on.

  • The number of people sleeping rough on our city’s streets has trebled in a decade. 47% of people sleeping rough in the UK live in London and the Southeast.

  • Shockingly, the average age of death for someone who is homeless is 45 for men and 43 for women. The national average is 79 (men) and 83 (women). Six London boroughs are among the 14 UK areas with the highest number of deaths.

  • The majority (83%) of people sleeping rough in London are men. Two-thirds of London’s ‘hidden homeless’ are women sheltering from harm by sleeping on sofas, nights buses and in dark corners.
  • Inner boroughs like Westminster have always had the highest rates of rough sleeping in London, but the proportion of people rough sleeping in Central London has been reducing over the last 15 years from more than three-quarters to less than half. This is because we're seeing that street homelessness is becoming more common in some of the outer boroughs, especially in East London, where boroughs like Newham have some of the highest rates of rough sleeping.

At Single Homeless Project, our experts are working hard to help Londoners across the city to cope with the cost-of-living crisis and stay in their own homes.

We help single Londoners by preventing homelessness, providing support and accommodation, promoting wellbeing, enhancing opportunity, and being a voice for change.

From supporting people in crisis to helping people take the final steps towards independence and employment, we make a difference to 10,000 lives every year across all 32 boroughs.