Ending rough sleeping in England: the framework, explained

Successive UK governments have made a commitment to end rough sleeping across England, and huge progress has been made despite the significant challenges posed by Covid-19. It is crucial that this positive momentum keeps going, and that you know what is working to achieve success. But without a clear definition, how will you know you are being successful?

As a first step towards this and to help accelerate progress, measure success and celebrate wins along the way, a clearer definition was adopted by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as announced by Parliamentary Under-then Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes in March 2022.


Reduce the prevalence of people experiencing homelessness in the first place



Number of new people sleeping out

The count of new people seen sleeping rough.

A person is considered ‘new’ if they have not been seen sleeping rough in the Local Authority or the region in the last 5 calendar years from the date they were first seen sleeping rough.

Most areas will use the Local Authority level view, but those that can access regional data (i.e. CHAIN) should look to see if the person has not slept rough in the entire region and not just a specific Local Authority.



People discharged from institutions with no settled accommodation identified

The length of time in days between the first time a person is seen rough sleeping and moving into ‘long-term’ accommodation.‘Long-term’ accommodation is defined as accommodation attended to last for 6 months or longer and includes:


Directly tracking the prevalence of homelessness nationally and locally



Number of people sleeping

A count of people who were seen rough sleeping.                                                            


Identify people experiencing homelessness and supporting them into accommodation



Time between being seen sleeping rough and ‘off-the-street’ accommodation

Measures the length of time in days between someone first being seen sleeping rough and the date in which they move into ‘off-the-street’ accommodation.

‘Off-the-street’ accommodation is defined as any placement that is intended to last for 6 months or less and includes:
  • Bed and breakfast hotels (including shared annexes)
  • Hostels with accommodation for less than 6 months
  • Hostels for respite and assessment
  • Other assessment bed settings
  • Temporary Accommodation placements, including:
    • Nightly paid, privately managed accommodation, self-contained
    • Private sector accommodation leased by local authority or leased or managed by a registered provider
    • Local authority or Housing association (LA/HA) stock
    • Any other type of temporary accommodation (including private landlord and not known)
  • Severe weather emergency protocol & winter provision
  • Shelters, no second night out beds and night beds
  • Assessment beds and assessment centres


Support people who have previously been homeless to not return to it



Number of ‘returners’

The count of rough sleepers who have returned to rough sleeping after a period of no contact.

People who are seen sleeping rough again after no contact in the last 2 or more quarters. This will be calculated using a specific date when they were last seen.
Explore these articles to find out more about how we're putting this into action, and watch this space for our soon to be released implementation guide
manage cookies