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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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The issues explained


Rough sleepers are being punished by measures introduced to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Rough sleepers and complex needs

Rough sleeping is dangerous and isolating. Long periods spent sleeping rough leads to health problems.

Ending rough sleeping

Rough sleeping is rising across the UK. Not enough is being done to address this.

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

Responding to the statistics, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “While it is encouraging to see the overall number of rough sleepers in London has gone down, it is unacceptable that thousands of people in London found themselves going from a settled home to sleeping on the streets last year.


“Today’s announcement is a hugely positive step that underlines the Government’s commitment to ending rough sleeping by 2027. As our own Housing First study in Liverpool has found, for the most vulnerable rough sleepers and other homeless people, the best approach is to support them into a stable home of their own as soon as possible and provide them with individually tailored support to help them to stay there.


“These figures are a devastating reminder that rough sleeping is beyond dangerous – it’s deadly, and it’s claiming more and more lives each year. Those sleeping on our streets are exposed to everything from sub-zero temperatures, to violence and abuse, and fatal illnesses."


What you can do


We could not do our work without the support and commitment of volunteers throughout the year across the UK.

Volunteering positions

Add your voice to the thousands of Crisis campaigners who sign petitions, email their MP and raise awareness. 

Current campaigns