The official, annual street count for York in 2020 showed that three people were sleeping on the street on a typical night: down from seven in 2019.

This follows a year of intensive and personalised support for rough sleepers including the council and partners’ continued work to support homeless families and rough sleepers during the pandemic. 

This is the fourth consecutive year that sleeping rough has reduced in York. In 2017, the official number of people sleeping rough was 29, in 2018 it was nine, in 2019 it was seven and in 2020 it is now three.

The decline has happened largely by the council’s and partners’ specialist workers using a personalised and creative approach. Together with the ‘Everyone In’ initiative, they are offering beds in a wider variety of accommodation, supporting people to stay in their accommodation and to manage often complex issues that contribute to rough sleeping.

The annual official count of people sleeping rough takes place nationally between 1 October and 30 November. This year, City of York Council did its count before its additional winter beds open to create a more accurate picture. For two months before the count, information was gathered from partners, StreetLink, members of the public and findings by the regular street walks, to identify who was rough sleeping, who had accommodation and where people often slept.

Early in the morning of 28 October 2020, officers from the council, the Salvation Army, North Yorkshire Police and local charities walked the streets of York looking for people sleeping out, and visited the places known to be used by rough sleepers.

Three rough sleepers were found. This number was verified independently by Homeless Link based on the findings of the count and on the information gathered. Since then, the three people identified have accepted the council’s offer of accommodation.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said:

“I’d rather no-one slept on York’s streets but I am pleased with this reduction. Our teams will continue to pro-actively engage with anyone rough sleeping in York and secure them accommodation and ongoing support.

“Because levels of rough sleeping continually rise and fall, a constant approach is essential in these uncertain times. The added concern around Covid-19 has prompted more resources and creative solutions to sleeping out and, as a result, more people have accepted the help offered.

“I’d like to thank the committed team and our partners for their continued dedication to help more people into safer, more stable accommodation.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council, said:

“This very welcome reduction in rough sleeping in York shows the impact of our partnership working and our personalised approach to help people off the streets and into accommodation.

“This has been supported by over £433k funding secured from the Rough Sleeping Initiative – £30k more than last year. The extra capacity offered by James House which opened this summer is very welcome and we have enough emergency winter beds for rough sleepers too.”

The council and partners continue to support rough sleepers in line with Covid-19 guidelines throughout the pandemic. Single people in our resettlement services are being allocated single rooms and we are grateful to those organisations kindly providing us with additional rooms for homeless people with lower support needs. Our street walks are continuing, with any rough sleepers found being offered a bed and support.

Rough Sleeper services are operating in the same way. For a bed, please go to 63 Lawrence Street or call them on 01904 416562.

Anyone who sees a person sleeping rough can ring Streetlink on 0300 500 0194 which will alert us to visit the location and offer support. Many other ways to help people off the streets can be found at .

Anyone worried about
•    Homelessness, should call our Housing Options team on 01904 554500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Out of usual office hours, please call 01609 780780 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
•    Money, should visit, or email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call  01904 551556.

We and our partner charities encourage people not to give cash direct to those appearing to beg, but to give to York Street Aid at . Money raised goes directly towards helping homeless people in York in personalised ways, such as buying clothing for interviews, a bike to get to work or paying rent on an allotment.