Homelessness survey shows two-thirds fall in rough sleepers since last year

A passer by shares his food with a homeless man. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The count-based survey reported three visible rough sleepers in Ipswich on the autumn 2021 night - Credit: Archant

Last year's count for the Rough Sleeping Snapshot survey found three people sleeping rough in Ipswich, down two-thirds compared with the year before. 

The count took place on one evening in autumn 2021, with Ipswich Borough Council staff taking note of visible rough sleeping. 

A spokesman for the council said: "The Ipswich Borough Council figure for 2021 was three which was down from nine in 2020, and from a high of 27 in 2016. 

"The reduction has been enabled by the excellent working between the council and other statutory and voluntary agencies funded by the government's Rough Sleeping Initiative Funding." 

Figures were also released for the East Suffolk Council area, where 15 people were found to be sleeping on the streets, and West Suffolk Council, where 10 were counted. 

These figures do not include other forms of homelessness, including people in night-shelters, hostels, those in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or people who are "sofa surfing". 

Ipswich Borough Council used a count-based survey, although some local authorities use evidence-based estimates.  

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Emma Francis, community manager at Emmaus Suffolk, said she believes the stats released today do not paint the full picture of homelessness in the region. 

"These stats also only include people who were seen sleeping rough on just one evening last year, but we know that many homeless people are hidden from view, choosing to find somewhere out of sight to bed down due to fears for their safety.  

"They also don't include those who are unstably housed in temporary accommodation or 'sofa surfing'. 

"We anticipate this figure will rise even more over the next 12 months as the rise of living costs impact the most vulnerable, through no fault of the individual, or family. 

"The good news is that there is some amazing support available here in Suffolk, with many organisations and charities working together to provide help to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, as well as working to prevent people becoming homeless." 

Emmaus Suffolk is a charity which works to prevent homelessness by supporting vulnerable, long-term unemployed and socially isolated people from its hubs in Ipswich and Felixstowe.  

The charity is part of the Ipswich Locality Homeless Partnership, a partnership of about 30 organisations from across a wide range of sectors, all working to reduce homelessness.