It is very difficult to accurately gauge the level of homelessness across the country, as it affects people in very different ways. There are two main sources of data – councils accepting households as homeless (and assuming responsibility to help house them) and rough sleeper counts.

In 2015/16, 1,017 households were accepted as homeless in Hackney, with 355 unsuccessful applications. The number of households accepted as homeless has risen by nearly 50% from 2011/12, when 686 households were accepted as homeless.

In 2015/16, the City took 48 applications from households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, which represents a marked increase on recent years.  The City accepted a duty to secure settled accommodation for 27 of these applicants (i.e. they were deemed eligible for assistance, in priority need and not intentionally homeless). The City also provided temporary accommodation to:

  • 31 households who were either homeless applicants awaiting a decision on their case, or people whom the City had a duty to house who were awaiting an offer of settled accommodation
  • 13 households on a discretionary basis, without a homeless application being accepted.

Data on rough sleeping reported in this section are taken from the CHAIN (combined homelessness and information network) database – a GLA commissioned system managed by St Mungos (a third sector organisation that works with single homeless people). The database monitors rough sleeping across London.  All verified rough sleepers – i.e. people who have been seen sleeping rough by local authority outreach teams – are placed on the CHAIN database. 2

Across London in 2015/16, over 8,000 people were seen rough sleeping by outreach workers in 2014/15 (an increase of 7% compared to 2014/15). Of these, two thirds (65%) were seen sleeping rough for the first time in London, but just 3% of the total were seen in all four quarters of the year.

In Hackney over this same period, 148 people were identified as sleeping rough across the borough (virtually the same as the previous year) and 87 had been seen for the first time in Hackney.   In 2015/16 440 people were seen rough sleeping on the City’s streets, an increase of 18% from the previous year.  Of these, 225 people were recorded as rough sleeping for the first time in London, 158 people were longer-term rough sleepers and 57 people had returned to the streets after a period away.


  1. Greater London Authority, “Rough sleeping in London (CHAIN reports),” 2015.
  2. Greater London Authority, “Rough sleeping in London (CHAIN reports),” 2015.