Rough sleeping

Annual Rough Sleepers Count

Each year, we carry out an Annual Rough Sleepers Count strictly in accordance with government criteria and guidance.

For the purpose of the count, rough sleepers are defined as:

"People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on / in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations or “bashes”)."

The definition does not include people in hostels or shelters, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers. It does not include people who were rough sleeping in the area on a previous night or earlier in the evening but who were not there at the time of the count. It does not include people wandering around, or empty sleeping sites.

‘Bedded down’ is taken to mean either lying down or sleeping. ‘About to bed down’ includes those who are sitting in / on or standing next to a sleeping bag or other bedding. The intention is to establish that they are or will be rough sleeping on the night of the count. Research has found that in many areas people seen drinking in the street or begging (even if they have a blanket or a sleeping bag) are not necessarily sleeping rough and they should not be included unless they are clearly bedded down or are about to bed down at the time of the count.

All those who fall into this definition should be counted, regardless of nationality or their eligibility for public funds.

The most recent count 

Northampton’s rough sleeper count was undertaken by a team of 59 volunteers between midnight and 3am on Thursday, 28 November 2019. The count was observed and validated (for the government) by an independent verifier from Homeless Link. 

During the count, a total of 28 people were found bedded down and, of the 24 people whose gender could be established, 21 were men and 3 were women. 

Of the 24 people identified during the count, 21 are known to the Street Outreach Team. 

The 28 people found bedded down during the count do not include the 12 men who were found sleeping in makeshift shelters and tent encampments on the outskirts of Northampton – sites that are not safe to visit at night – a few days before the count.