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A visual timeline of

Our history

Crisis was formed in 1967, as an urgent response to the growing homelessness crisis. Since then we have helped tens of thousands of people out of homelessness, and campaigned for change.

Origins

1960s

1966

In 1966, 12 million people watch drama Cathy Come Home on the BBC – the story of a young woman having her children ripped away...

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1967

In 1967 Crisis at Christmas is founded by Bill Shearman. The aspiring politician joins forces with a network of homelessness activists...

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1969

A reverse pilgrimage from Canterbury to London known as the Bishop’s March, led by Bishop Ramsay, helps put Crisis on the map.      

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Crisis at Christmas

1970s

1971

Iain Macleod passes away and Bill Shearman ends his involvement with Crisis at Christmas, yet in 1971, 20 volunteers create the...

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1972

Crisis at Christmas is registered as a charity with trustees including Ronnie Corbett and Baroness Macleod. Open Christmas grows...

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1977

Campaigning leads to the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act, giving the first legal definition of homelessness. To this day there is no other country in the world where homeless people have a legal entitlement to settled housing enforced by the courts. Crucially though, it denies single homeless people the same protection as families under the law.

Growth & Grants

1980s

1981

Crisis is reaching a turning point. The charity’s Christmas operation has grown to look after more than 400 homeless people each...

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1987

Crisis and Shelter operate first emergency winter shelters outside of Christmas with funding from the Government, and Crisis takes on its first full-time staff.

1988

HRH Princess Alexandra becomes Crisis patron

Innovation and change

1990s

1990

Crisis opens an office in Manchester

1992

Crisis appoints Mark Scothern as its first Chief Executive and under his direction the charity launches its first extensive research programme. This looks into areas such as suicide rates, begging, elderly rough sleeping and the plight of single homeless people.

1994-97

Crisis becomes the official name of the organisation. While the Christmas appeal continues to grow, a proactive grants programme...

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1997

Shaks Ghosh is appointed as Chief Executive. By the end of the nineties, concerted efforts to tackle rough sleeping have changed the profile of homelessness and lead to a focus on the underlying issues preventing people from securing a decent home.

Crisis Skylight

2000s

2002-04

Crisis launches the 'Skylight' model and its first education and training centre opens in London, providing activities and support...

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2005

Crisis Open Christmas appears as a short feature in ITV's London Tonight news programme.

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2006

Leslie Morphy is appointed Chief Executive

2007

Second Crisis Skylight centre opens in Newcastle

Year round expansion

2010s

2010

Crisis starts developing a presence in Scotland with services starting in Edinburgh. Services also start in Birmingham

2011

Crisis opens services in Oxford and Merseyside. Crisis receives a Department for Communities and Local Government grant to fund...

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2012

Significant highlights include the Ed Sheeran-backed No Going Home campaign protecting housing benefit for under 35s. While Christmas...

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2013

Crisis Skylight services open in Coventry and South Yorkshire.

2014

More than 45,000 people support the No One Turned Away campaign, calling for a change to the longstanding injustice that sees...

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2015

Crisis’ intervention in a landmark Supreme Court case helps improve protection for the most vulnerable people sleeping rough in England. As a result, single homeless people no longer have to prove they are particularly vulnerable compared to other homeless people in order to qualify for support from local councils.

2016

Crisis opens in Wales, helping homeless people turn around their lives through education, employment and one to one support with health, wellbeing and housing at Crisis Skylight South Wales.

2017

Conservative MP Bob Blackman's Homelessness Reduction Bill, supported by Crisis' No One Turned Away campaign, becomes law in England.  

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