Street counts - how many people are sleeping rough?

How many people are sleeping rough in Oxford?

Street counts

We can provide snapshot figures for rough sleepers and see longer term trends by conducting regular street counts.

These regular counts take place at night and we co-ordinate them with the help of organisations who work with people sleeping rough.

What is a street count?

Homeless Link defines a street count as “a snapshot of the number of people seen sleeping rough in a local authority area on a particular night.” 

This snapshot figure allows for long term comparisons of the growth or decline in the number of rough sleepers.

It is not intended to be a complete picture of current rough sleepers in Oxford.

A street count will not record everyone in the area with a history of rough sleeping, but it is effective in:

  • gauging the scale of the rough sleeping problem in Oxford
  • monitoring progress over time

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government funds Homeless Link, which supports councils in England to undertake either a count or an intelligence-led estimate of the number of people sleeping rough.

Main points from September 2019 street count

  • 51 people were rough sleeping
  • This represents a 24 percent increase from the 41 counted during the street count in July and a 42 percent increase from the 36 people counted in September 2018
  • This is the second highest number of people counted experiencing homelessness after the 61 people counted in November 2017.
  • A quarter of those counted (13 people) had been sleeping rough for less than six months and another eight people (16 percent) were newly verified by the outreach team on the night. In July, 16 people (39 percent) has been sleeping rough for less than six months with another three people (seven percent) newly verified during the count.
  • Seventeen people (33 percent) had returned to rough sleeping after being accommodated, compared to 11 (27 percent) in July
  • Twenty six people (51 percent) had been sleeping rough for more than six months, an increase from 14 people (34 percent) in July
  • Between the July and September counts the number of people sleeping rough for over a year increased from nine (22 percent) to 21 (41 percent) individuals
  • There was an decrease in people identified as women - six people (12 percent), compared with 11 individuals (27 percent) counted in July
  • One person (two percent) had accommodation in Oxford but chose to sleep out on the night. In July, five people (12 percent) chose to sleep out even though they had accommodation available
  • The largest proportion of people sleeping rough were aged between 36-49 years old
  • Nobody counted was aged under 25 and there was an increase in the number of people over 60 from two (5 percent) to five (10 percent)
  • The largest group of rough sleepers in Oxford are UK nationals, with 24 counted (47 percent). This is a decrease from the 28 (68 percent) counted in July
  • There was a substantial increase in the number of EU nationals sleeping rough from two (5 percent) to 12 (24 percent) people
  • Seven people sleeping rough (14 percent) had no recourse to public funds - an increase from July, when two individuals (five percent) had no recourse to public funds
  • Rough sleepers averaged two separate and overlapping support needs, with alcohol issues being the most common (19 individuals). Other unmet support needs included physical health issues, alcohol or drug dependency, difficulty sustaining accommodation and safeguarding concerns
  • Fifteen people (29 percent) had no identified support needs. Of these, 12 were yet to have their support needs assessed
  • Thirteen people sleeping rough (25 percent) had a local connection to Oxford, a decrease on the 17 (41 percent) people counted in July 
  • As in July, three people (six percent) had a confirmed local connection to another district in Oxfordshire. 

You can get more detailed reports of bi-monthly street counts by emailing the Rough Sleeping and Single Homelessness team at [email protected]

Street counts or estimates follow a methodology developed by Homeless Link.