We think that it is possible to end rough sleeping. All public services have their role to play in preventing people from ending up on the streets. This includes health services and the criminal justice system.
Read how sleeping rough has an impact on people's lives.
'By the time Christmas came around I was really low. No-one knew where I was. I was exhausted. I was smelly. I looked like a stereotypical rough sleeper. That’s when I first heard about Crisis at Christmas, but I was scared I would be treated like a ‘homeless’ person - being given second hand clothes and food from the bins. The last thing I wanted was to be treated like a no-body.'
'Lloyd is lovely. I love her to bits. I look forward to seeing her every year. I was nineteen when I first came to Crisis. I couldn’t go home to my family and I was just roaming the streets with nowhere else to go. It was terrible. I was sleeping rough for fifteen years in total, but Crisis helped me get into a shelter and I’ve been coming here every Christmas for the last twenty-eight years now. I had a stroke when I was thirty and I can’t walk anymore, but I still like to come every year. I love the singing and the karaoke and all the nice people like Lloyd. I don’t have any family with me, so if I didn’t have Crisis I’d just be on my own.'
Our research into the scale and experience of rough sleeping including enforcement interventions.
Estimated number of people sleeping rough in 2016 on a single night in Autumn across England
This was up by 16% on 2015.
It is time to repeal the Vagrancy Act, yes. But if the answer was ever about whether to criminalise people, then we have been asking the wrong question. If we can see our way past labelling, grouping, dismissing, damning, pointlessly prosecuting and fining people, perhaps we can start answering the right question. What help and support do people need to realise their potential, and how quickly can we get it to everyone that needs it?
The centuries-old Vagrancy Act, which makes rough sleeping and begging illegal in England and Wales, should be scrapped because it is needlessly pushing vulnerable people further from help, according to a new report from homelessness charity Crisis. The calls come as the Government today announces its review of the Act as part of its rough sleeping strategy.