One in Fifty: London’s Startling Homelessness Statistic Uncovered

one in 50 people in London is homeless

The latest data reveals a shocking reality: in London, England, one out of every 50 residents is homeless, with families and individuals facing dire challenges due to unaffordable housing, poverty, and insufficient wages. The crisis extends to classrooms, with one child per classroom enduring homelessness, prompting a call for legislative action to address the root causes and make housing a fundamental human right.

Latest Data Reveals Shocking Truth that One in Every 50 London Residents Are Homeles

If you walk into a room filled with 50 people in London, England, the odds suggest at least one of them is homeless.

“If I can get quite a bit of money, then I can hide my sleeping bag in the bushes, and I can get into a hostel where it’s only eight pounds for a night,” said Paul, a London resident sleeping rough near Grosvenor Gardens.

In an eye-opening interview with Invisible People, Paul explained how he came into the fate of being unsheltered in The Big Smoke and juggling odd jobs just to stay alive. His plight, while tragic, is not uncommon. 

Indeed, it is a trial that a growing number of locals are likely to face – at least one in fifty of them, according to the latest projections.

What Is Driving London’s Homelessness to Such an Extreme?

To put things into perspective, approximately one out of every 500 people are homeless in the United States nationwide. This is a scornful statistic, but it pales in comparison to London’s ratio, which is tenfold that of the US average.

The question here is why, and more importantly, is it possible to rectify the situation?

Experts cite all of the following dilemmas as contributing to the raging homeless crisis:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Poverty
  • Insufficient wages
  • Unemployment
  • Unexpected life changes and more

The trending phrase “affordability crisis” comes to mind as families and individuals are shuffled from sofas to hostels to unsuitable B&B accommodations. They are then spit back out into homelessness again by a government that has managed to shrug away the problem by deeming it untenable.

Putting the Numbers in Perspective: One Child in Every London Classroom is Homeless

Homelessness is not just loss – the loss of property, possessions, security, and the protective barrier that keeps the outside world at bay when we need peace and rest. It is also, perhaps more importantly, a lack of access to education, opportunities, and life-sustaining options, ultimately leading to a lack of freedom.

Such freedoms are supposed to be the cornerstone of modern values. Yet, all too often, the coming generation is denied these freedoms.

Take, for example, the fact that homelessness is so rampant in London that there are now at least 83,000 school-aged children enduring the horrors of homelessness in the city every year. This accounts for approximately one child per classroom.

If any other peril fell upon one child per classroom across a region, the problem would immediately take precedence. Imagine the public outcry if one child in every classroom permanently dropped out of school.

Yet befuddlingly, in this scenario, according to BBC News, London leaders have deemed the recent homeless crisis “unmanageable,” taking the oft-politicized route of suggesting that homelessness is some unsolvable mystery, a sad but necessary evil. It is neither.

The gradual delay in the loss of education for homeless children makes it no less pressing. It only makes it less visible.

Family homelessness is increasingly affecting low and middle-income earners across the region, with a £30k annual salary now insufficient to afford rent. The number of families residing in unsuitable B&B accommodations for durations exceeding the legal 6-week limit has increased by an astonishing 782% in just one year.

This rise in family homelessness means London shamefully leads the UK in its number of homeless children. You will find more homeless children here than in any other place across the country combined.

This says much about the current crisis and speaks volumes about our collective future. If one child in every classroom across London grows up homeless, the generational trauma we should expect in 20 years is immeasurable.

London Housing Prices are Literally Through the Roof

As further proof that a lack of affordable housing is the leading cause of homelessness in the UK, London boasts housing prices that are a shocking £250,000 higher than the national average, which widens the ever-burgeoning wealth gap and contributes to the crisis.

According to the Guardian, the problem is so severe that several London-based schools have been forced to permanently shutter, closing the doors of education and opportunity forever.

Rental rates are also skyrocketing. Today, the average London renter is experiencing an extreme rent burden and forking over nearly half of their income—42.5% to be precise—on the rent. The alternative is a grim one. It consists of being priced out entirely and forced to relocate to another city or, in extreme cases, a temporary homeless accommodation facility. 

The key to the crisis is in our infrastructure. Will regional leaders acknowledge this truth?

Talk to Your Legislators About Making Housing a Human Right

As you might have guessed, the best way to address a housing crisis is with addresses—permanent and affordable addresses, that is.

Homelessness isn’t always obvious. With one in 50 Londoners enduring some level of homelessness, it is likely that you may personally know someone who is quietly suffering through this plight. You might even fit the description yourself.

From sofa surfing to hostel residency to spending years on housing waiting lists, it’s clear that the system is failing. Take a moment to discuss reworking the system through your local legislators by drafting laws that make housing a human right.

Cynthia Griffith

Cynthia Griffith


Cynthia Griffith is a freelance writer dedicated to social justice and environmental issues.

Related Topics

Get the Invisible People newsletter


80 years old and homeless veteran in Los Angeles needs help


Displaced - social impact fim

Displaced: When Surviving Homelessness is a Crime

Homeless man sitting on sidewalk near Skid Row Los Angeles


homeless woman in Grants Pass




California Politicians on Both Sides of the Divide Vote to Criminalize Homelessness

homelessness in Scotland

Scotland’s Homelessness Explodes, Surpassing Pre-Pandemic Levels

Criminalization and Homelessness in Las Vegas

Trapped in the System: The Vicious Cycle of Criminalization in Las Vegas

johnson v. grants pass

Understanding the Potential Impact of Johnson v. Grants Pass

Get the Invisible People newsletter