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.




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

Read more


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

Read more


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

Read more

Crisis at Christmas



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

Read more


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

Read more


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



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

Read more


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.


HRH Princess Alexandra becomes Crisis patron

Innovation and change



Crisis opens an office in Manchester


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.


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

Read more


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



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

Read more


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

Read more


Leslie Morphy is appointed Chief Executive


Second Crisis Skylight centre opens in Newcastle

Year round expansion



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


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

Read more


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

Read more


Crisis Skylight services open in Coventry and South Yorkshire.


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

Read more


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.


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.


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

Read more


The plan to end homelessness uses extensive new research and sets out the exact government policies needed to end it for good.

Read more