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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 19:58 GMT
Differences over homeless figures
Homeless in Croydon
Officially Croydon does not have any rough sleepers
Big differences exist between official figures for levels of homelessness and the actual number of rough sleepers, according to charities.

Government statistics put the number of people without a roof over their heads in London at 267.

The CHAIN database which is compiled by homeless charities calculates 1,497.

The Simon Community which works with rough sleepers said the problem lay with the way the figures were recorded by local authorities.

Tim Nicholls, of the Simon Community, said: "Each local authority only has to estimate the number of people actually sleeping rough.

"If they estimate that they have fewer than ten people sleeping rough they don't have to do a count, and the government takes the figure to be zero."

According to official government homelessness figures Croydon does not have any rough sleepers.

But Amanda Chortled, a volunteer with Croydon Nightwatch, said they came into contact with between 30 and 50 people each night.

She said: "We give out food as well as clothes and toiletries and any other things they've requested.

"There's still as much need for what we do now as there was 30 years ago, probably more so. There are probably more people on the streets now then there were 30 years ago."

Housing minister Yvette Cooper said: "Councils should be counting the number of rough sleepers in their area. That has been what a lot of London boroughs have been doing for many years.

"We have made a lot of progress in terms of cutting the levels of rough sleeping and that is a huge tribute to the work of councils and voluntary sector agencies across the country, so much so that we have people coming from Europe and America to see the progress made."


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