Homelessness is a consistent problem in the UK but estimating the overall size of the homeless population is difficult.

The homeless charity Crisis puts the figure at around 227,000 for the most severe forms of homeless, with England having the highest rates of the four UK nations.

It is warning homelessness is projected to rise over the next two decades to 350,000 households in Britain by 2041, including 320,000 in England.

These figures relate to the most severe forms of homelessness, where people are sleeping rough, in vans and sheds, or stuck in B&Bs. Underneath this figure are larger numbers of people living in insecure and temporary accommodation, all of whom are at risk of dropping into the homeless figures.

Fortunately, the UK has a number of highly respected charities that work to combat homelessness.

The charities tackling homelessness in the UK 


Crisis is a large, national charity that helps people experiencing homelessness. It provides year-round education, employment, housing and well-being services. It runs Crisis Skylight Centres across the country including East London, Newcastle, Oxford, South Wales, Edinburgh, South Yorkshire, Croydon, Brent and Merseyside.

These help people find accommodation and employment and provide help with their mental health and well-being. 


Founded in 1966, Shelter is one of the UK’s oldest homelessness charities. The charity helps people with housing needs by providing advice and practical assistance, as well as campaigns for better investment in housing and for laws and policies to improve the lives of homeless and badly housed people.


Young people are at particular risk of falling into homelessness, with care leavers in particular often facing challenges in finding permanent accommodation. Centrepoint is the UK’s premier charity attempting to tackle homelessness among young people aged between 16 and 25. The charity supports more than 14,000 young people in London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East of England

Its Independent Living Programme is Centrepoint’s most ambitious programme to date, creating homes, jobs and education with the support young people need when they are ready to live independently.

It’s partly spearheaded by Javad Marandi, co-chair of Centrepoint’s growth board. Marandi is also the founder and co-chair of the Marandi Foundation which is dedicated to providing disadvantaged young people and communities in the UK with access to training and educational opportunities, as well as mental health and well-being support services.

The Big Issue Foundation

The Big Issue magazine was launched in 1991 by John Bird and Gordon Roddick, with the intention of giving homeless people the means to support themselves by selling a weekly magazine. In 1995, The Big Issue Foundation was launched to provide extra support to vendors. This aims to help them move into secure employment and housing, as well as practical assistance with opening bank accounts and accessing health care. 

Depaul UK 

Depaul UK is part of a network of Depaul organisations worldwide that works with some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities. It aims to prevent homelessness and provides emergency accommodation and longer-term housing. It provides support and outreach services to young people in crisis.

It coordinates the Nightstop UK service, which works nationally to place young people who are homeless or sofa surfing, with approved volunteers to ensure that they have a safe and secure room for the night.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a well-known name across the UK and has always seen tackling poverty and homelessness as a key part of its mission. It runs hostels, and drop-in centres and carries out frontline work with rough sleepers. It also provides a range of other services across the country, including outreach, night shelters and addiction services.

The Salvation Army provides case workers who support some of the UK’s most vulnerable people to move out of the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 

St Mungo’s 

St Mungo’s is a homelessness charity that provides shelter, support and a range of outreach services to homeless people across the south of England. It works to rebuild lives and to expand awareness of the issue among the wider community. It addresses some of the misconceptions about homelessness.

St Mungo’s played a key role during the Covid-19 response to protect rough sleepers, managing 30 hotels and providing protection for 4,000 people. The charity coordinates the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN).

This is a multi-agency database providing a comprehensive count of the number of rough sleepers that come into contact with outreach workers in London.

With economic pressures weighing down on households, mortgage interest rates and rents rising, homeless rates are predicted to rise even further over the next few years.

The vital work of the UK’s homelessness charities is likely to be needed more than ever.