Street counts - how many people are sleeping rough?

Who and what is being counted?

Who is counted

For the purpose of street counts, Homeless Link defines people sleeping rough as “People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes”)”

This means that key groups including:

  • known rough sleepers who are not bedded down at the time of the count
  • people who are known to be sleeping rough in a specific area that cannot be accessed by the count staff

cannot be included in the count tally.

“People accommodated in hostels or shelters, sofa surfers, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or Travellers” are also excluded from street count figures.

What information is collected

We record some basic information about any rough sleepers found during the count. This includes:

  • name
  • gender
  • nationality
  • ethnicity
  • basic support needs

These details are checked immediately after the count to prevent double counting.