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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.

What is rough sleeping?

Rough sleeping is one of the most visible types of homelessness. Rough sleeping includes sleeping outside or in places that aren't designed for people to live in, including cars, doorways and abandoned buildings.

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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Rough sleeping figures

Our research into the scale and experience of rough sleeping including enforcement interventions.


Estimated number of people sleeping rough in 2022 on a single night in Autumn across England.

This was up by 26% from 2021.

The Criminal Justice Bill and rough sleeping

The UK Government is trying to pass new laws that will criminalise rough sleeping on the streets with a fine up to £2,500 or even prison. The Bill aims to punish so-called ‘nuisance’ rough sleeping. People could be considered a nuisance if they ‘appear to have slept rough’, are ‘intending to sleep rough’ or if they have an ‘excessive smell’. This is appalling. It is dehumanising and unacceptable.

Together, we must put a stop to these cruel plans while we have the chance.


Find out more about the Bill – and take action


It is time to repeal the Vagrancy Act, yes. But if the answer was ever about whether to criminalise people, then we have been asking the wrong question. If we can see our way past labelling, grouping, dismissing, damning, pointlessly prosecuting and fining people, perhaps we can start answering the right question. What help and support do people need to realise their potential, and how quickly can we get it to everyone that needs it?


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

Volunteer with Crisis

Through steaming clothes, to making Christmas special. In cheering on our runners and supporting our clients. You are part of ending homelessness, one journey at a time.

Volunteer with Crisis

We campaign for the changes needed to end homelessness for good.