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 July 2019 street count

  • 41 people were rough sleeping
  • This represents a 15 percent decrease from the 48 counted during the street count in May
  • Twenty three people (56 percent) had been sleeping rough in Oxford for less than six months - the same proportion as the 27 people counted in May
  • Of these 23 people, 10 were new to rough sleeping and 11 had returned to the streets after being accommodated
  • Fourteen people (34 percent) were long term rough sleepers who had been sleeping rough for more than six months, compared to the 20 people (42 percent) counted in May
  • There was an increase in people identified as women - 11 people (27 percent), compared with nine individuals (19 percent) counted in May
  • Five people (12 percent) had accommodation in Oxford but chose to sleep out on the night. In May, one person (two 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 with 18 (44 percent) found in this age range - the same number (38 percent) as in May
  • The average age of rough sleepers during this count was 43. In May it was 44 
  • The majority of rough sleepers in Oxford are UK nationals, with 28 counted (68 percent). This is a decrease from the 32 (67 percent) counted in May
  • The number of EU nationals sleeping rough decreased from five (10 percent) to two (five percent) people
  • Two people sleeping rough (five percent) had no recourse to public funds - a decrease from May, when five individuals (10 percent) had no recourse to public funds
  • Rough sleepers averaged four separate and overlapping support needs, with mental health issues being the most common (22 individuals). Other unmet support needs included physical health issues, alcohol or drug dependency, difficulty sustaining accommodation and safeguarding concerns
  • Fifteen people (37 percent) had no identified support needs. Of these, 13 were yet to have their support needs assessed
  • Seventeen people sleeping rough (41 percent) had a local connection to Oxford, a significant increase on the five (10 percent) people counted in May 
  • Three people (seven percent) had a confirmed local connection to another district in Oxfordshire. In May, there were four people (eight percent) with a confirmed local connection elsewhere 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.