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Rough sleeping

More and more people are sleeping rough. Living on the streets is dangerous. It causes health problems and affects people’s wellbeing.

How can this be solved?

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.

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Real life stories

Read how sleeping rough has an impact on people's lives.

'I have been rough sleeping on night buses for two months. I’m originally from Hungary where I worked as a computer programmer. I have been in the UK for six years and became homeless due to family problems. I had an abusive partner and the relationship broke down.'

'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.'

'It’s really too hot, it’s about thirty degrees I think, maybe even more. I can’t even sit down for too long to try and make enough money for someone to stay, or anything like that, because the ground is so hot I’m scalding my arse for one, and two, if I am sitting down I can’t sit down for no longer than half an hour because I end up burning up and dehydrating. It’s good to see you bought me a bottle of water. I need to drink that to keep hydrated cos otherwise I’ll just pass out and get sunstroke. That’s the last thing I need at the minute.'

Scale and impact

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.


Campaign success: when the snap general election was called in 2017 we successfully campaigned, with other homeless charities, for the major political parties in England to commit to end rough sleeping.

Campaign successes


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.


New figures from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have revealed that 798 people have died w...


What you can do


Volunteer to make a real difference to people experiencing homelessness.


Help us campaign for the changes we know are needed to end homelessness for good.