Homelessness close to home for many, charity finds in run up to Christmas.

People experiencing homelessness is at an all-time high – including rough sleeping – and new findings released today reveal just how close to home the issues of homelessness are for the UK. 

Leading homelessness charity, St Mungo’s, has found that this year a fifth of us have either been in temporary accommodation, or knows someone who has (21%) and that 12% of people have slept rough on the streets in 2023 or knows someone who has. 

Furthermore, almost a fifth (19%) have also experienced hidden homelessness in 2023 or know someone who has – these are people who are experiencing homelessness or housing difficulties, regardless of legal definitions or entitlement, but who are not supported by their local authorities or counted in official statistics. This may be, for example, when people are sofa surfing with family, friends or another connection, or sleeping in their vehicles. 

With the bitter winter weather starting earlier this year, St Mungo’s is releasing new findings as to how close to home the issues of homelessness are for the UK population. 

The charity provides a wide range of services to help end homelessness in London, Bristol, Oxford, Reading, Bournemouth and Brighton and Recovery College services in Leicester. St Mungo’s workers are working at the sharp end of homelessness by helping people experiencing rough sleeping into safe accommodation or supporting those in hostels or specialist housing and providing support and ways to help for those struggling with addiction or mental health challenges. 

A crucial part of their work is preventing people from falling into homelessness in the first place and when people are brought in from the streets it is of the highest priority for teams to ensure they don’t find themselves sliding through the cracks once again. 

With people experiencing homelessness at an all-time high**  – including rough sleeping – the charity is disclosing findings from a December poll as to how close the issue of homelessness is for the UK population this Christmas and how we can all help those most vulnerable in our communities. 

Top findings: 

  • In 2023, a fifth of those polled have either been in temporary accommodation, or knows someone who has (21%) 
  • Almost a fifth of people (19%) have also experienced hidden homeless* in 2023 or know someone who has. 
  • 12% of people have slept rough on the streets in 2023 or knows someone who has. 
  • In terms of concerns, 20% of people are worried about the possibility of facing financial strain and housing insecurity in the event of their landlord selling the property or altering rental terms.? 
  • 18% of people are concerned that a friend and/or family member may be likely to experience a form of homelessness within the next year. 
  • 17% of people know someone facing a form of homelessness this Christmas period. 


“Emma Haddad, CEO of St Mungo’s said: “We’ve launched our Last Night on the Streets winter fundraising appeal to help raise vital funds to tackle rising rates of homelessness. It’s our biggest campaign of the year, boosting the support we can provide to the 30,000 people experiencing homelessness who we work with each year. Our work aims to ensure that when we reach people, it truly is for their last night on the street and a way out of homelessness for good.? 

Our work supports people experiencing all kinds of homelessness, including rough sleeping which is the most dangerous and visible. We are there long after people leave the streets, supporting people to rebuild their lives through recovery, training and employment services, as well as providing accommodation that caters for people with extreme vulnerabilities.” 


Rough sleeping and homelessness this winter are at record levels and there are lots of ways the public can help.? 

  1. Donations?are needed more than ever at this time of year.  
  1. The charity is always on the lookout for?volunteers, including people?who can help directly on the frontline, and you can find our more at mungos.org 
  1. If you see someone sleeping rough, please?refer?to local rough sleeping services via The StreetLink website. thestreetlink.org.uk 

If someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.

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