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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. But when I turned up the first thing I got was a wrapped up Christmas present full of gloves, hats and lovely things - and a Merry Christmas. It really felt like Christmas. The food was good and homemade. There were all these volunteers giving up time with their families to help people had had nothing. I started to feel much better... That new year I engaged with Crisis and did the courses. I planned work options and made new friends. Crisis was a safe place. They treated me like a human being.'

'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.'

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


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


To end homelessness, we need to understand and measure the true scale of the problem. Good data h...


Shockingly, between 2012 and 2017, the numbers have soared by 120% in England and 63% in Wales. Numbers in Scotland fell by 6% over the same period.


What you can do


We need volunteers at Crisis all year round, not just at Christmas.


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