Rough sleeping in Bristol up since last year

The number of rough sleepers in Bristol has gone up 16% from 2016 and almost 11-fold from 2010 with 86 rough sleepers counted and reported in the latest figures. The number in 2010 was 8.

At 0.44 in every 1000 residents, the rate in Bristol is just over twice the English average 0.20.

From people sleeping the crevices of the City Hall’s building to doorways of shops and residences, it’s no easy to miss the horrifyingly ever-increasing problem of people sleeping rough in our city. There are at least three men (and it is mostly men, 64%) who show up at our doorway. Ian, a man in a wheelchair who is near our house most days, lost one of his legs from DVT when he was a crane driver. When he finally came out of hospital, he’d lost his flat too. He sleeps in a friend’s shed in the garden and any notes he’s given he saves for a deposit on a flat. He spends the coins.
The Rough Sleeping in England release of information provides national summary information on rough sleeping counts and estimates carried out by local authorities between 1 October and 30 November 2017.

Rough sleeping counts and estimates are single night snapshots of the number of people sleeping rough in local authority areas. Local authorities decide on the best method to use in their area, a street count or an estimate.



Ex-Bristol West MP Stephen Williams and Communities minister said in 2015 that homelessness was due to immigration rather than housing shortage, before losing his seat to Labour MP Thangam Debonair. He’s still wrong. 54% of homeless people recorded were UK citizens, while only 24% were EU or non-EU residents. The rest were unknown.

The Bristol council house stock had been reduced over the years leading to mayoral pledges to build new houses in Marvin Rees’ term of office.

   2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
New homes built 70 6 0 8
Sold under right to buy 97 142 194 161
Sold – other than right to buy 17 12 29 41
Decommissioned / demolished 98 4 26 2

Despite needing to find £108m of savings from council spending over the next five years, Mayor Marvin Rees’s administration is planning to spend £277 million on housing (p.25 Cabinet Budget Report, 22 January 2018).

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