Channel 4 news last night reported on the rough sleeping numbers: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid601325122001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEabvr4~,Wtd2HT-p_Vh4qBcIZDrvZlvNCU8nxccG&bctid=1137708210001
The report stated that official national numbers were 440 in 2010 and up to 1,768 in 2011, this rise was due to a change in the way the data was collected using estimates as well as actual counts. The report gives some very interesting information not least that of a direct access hostel in Crawley that stated they had turned away 1,900 people over the last 12 months because they were full.
I’m still not convinced these kind of sensationalised news stories are really doing anything constructive. Talking about providing housing and getting people off the streets seems a bit like a sticking plaster reaction to something as a society we feel is wrong. The real challenge for most rough sleepers is far greater and more deeply rooted than somewhere to live and without a real sustained effort to overcome all their challenges and the underlying root causes providing housing is at best a short term fix and at worst a fast track to an eviction and little chance of re-housing further down the line sustainability is a more viable option.