The 205 individuals were identified as a priority by the Board as they represent the most difficult homeless group to reach. They have typically been homeless for at least five years, have refused or have been failed by repeated interventions to help them off the streets, and are often affected by a complex set of problems, including drug addiction and mental health issues.
Some 138 long-term rough sleepers are now off the streets and the Board, chaired by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor, Richard Blakeway, plans to help the remaining 67 still on the streets into accommodation by next Spring. It has already started to look at expanding this success to other people affected by sleeping rough in London.
Johnson said: "The London Delivery Board’s decision to focus first on those worst affected by homelessness in the capital has been hugely successful. Persuading long-term rough sleepers to come into, and stay in, accommodation is notoriously difficult. So to see just a third remaining on the streets only six months after the board began its work is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved.
"It is completely unacceptable for anyone to end up with only the street for a home in 21st century London. The board is doing a superb job but this is just the beginning of its work. We continue to face the challenge of people arriving onto the streets, often following a combination of financial and personal disasters. What we now need to do is build on this success and redouble efforts to tackle the flow of new rough sleepers and reduce the number of former rough sleepers returning to the street through health and job opportunities."
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