Government urged to tackle homelessness as number of rough sleepers rises

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The number of people found sleeping rough in London has increased by 7% over the past year, new figures reveal.

A total of 2,751 people were found sleeping rough in the capital in the first three months of the year, including half for the first time.

Rough sleeping in England has risen by 16% in the last year and has more than doubled in the last five, said the Crisis charity.

Chief executive Jon Sparkes said: "The number of people forced to sleep rough in London and across the country continues to rise, and for many, the consequences are devastating.

"Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on their mental and physical health.

"Our recent research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live.

"Whoever wins the General Election must make ending rough sleeping a top priority once they are elected."

The figures, from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, showed that 1,370 people were new rough sleepers, and 258 slept rough for more than one night but did not go on to live on the streets.

The figure of total rough sleepers was 7% up on the same period a year ago.