Changes to the Immigration Rules published in October 2020 made rough sleeping grounds for refusing or cancelling a person’s permission to remain in the UK. Over 44,500 people signed our petition and over 75 organisations joined our call to the UK Government to drop these cruel plans to punish people experiencing homelessness.
Success: While we didn’t manage to prevent these rules from coming into force, public pressure played an important role in ensuring that the Home Office provided guidance that the policy should only be used in limited circumstances.
In May 2021, Crisis, along with over 65 other organisations, released a joint statement condemning the UK Government’s plans.
Through our Cover the Cost campaign, we’d been calling for the UK Government to invest in housing benefit so that it covers the cost of rents.
Success: In March 2020, the UK Chancellor announced that housing benefit would be uprated to cover at least the cheapest third of rents for 12 months in order to prevent homelessness in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
In 2017 Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, established the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) to identify the actions needed to end homelessness in Scotland. The HARSAG group was chaired by Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes and its work produced recommendations for Scottish Government. In response to these recommendations, Scottish Government adopted a five-year high level action plan to end homelessness, which includes many recommendations from Crisis’s plan to end homelessness.
Success: The Scottish Government became the first government in Great Britain to produce a plan to end homelessness in all its forms.
Under the law in England homeless people who approach their council were often turned away with little or no help.
Success: Thanks to the Crisis' No One Turned Away campaign and the backing of 80,000 supporters, partner charities and politicians of all parties we got the biggest change to England’s homelessness laws in 40 years.
The Homelessness Reduction Act, was a private member’s bill tabled by Bob Blackman MP and passed with £61m funding in May 2017. Find out more about the campaign.
Crisis and Shelter intervened in a long running challenge to the way councils decide who is 'vulnerable' enough for housing help.
Success: The Supreme Court ruled that single homeless people no longer have to prove they are particularly vulnerable compared to other homeless people in order to qualify for support.
Crisis joined dozens of charities to challenge government plans to cut funds for Local Welfare Assistance - grants that let those living in poverty cover unexpected expenses like fixing a broken cooker.
Success: Ministers allocated an extra £74 million “to assist [councils] in dealing with pressures on local welfare and health and social care”.
A Crisis campaign to stop Government removing housing benefit for under 25 year olds.
Success: The campaign prevented the cut going ahead in 2012, protecting hundreds of thousands of young people from the risk of homelessness (and was "highly commended" at the Charity Times Awards 2013).
We're calling on the Government to strengthen the law so that no one is forced to sleep rough.
Success: Over 100 MPs signed a parliamentary motion calling for change. The government recognised there was a problem and announced £20milllion funding to tackle single homelessness.
We campaigned against the extension of the Shared Accommodation Rate (a lower rate of housing benefit) to under 35 year olds.
Success: We won an exemption for people who have formerly been homeless and have lived in a homeless hostel for more than three months.
Together with other homelessness charities, Crisis called on the Government and London mayoral candidates to commit to end rough sleeping by 2012.
Success: Government set out their ambition to end rough sleeping by 2012, along with a new package of measures, backed by £200 million of investment. All three main London mayoral candidates agreed that rough sleeping should be eradicated from London by 2012.
We worked with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness on A Safe Home, a campaign calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to ensure people fleeing domestic abuse in England are able to go to their council and be offered a safe, permanent home.
Success: In May 2020, the UK Government announced that it will amend the Domestic Abuse Bill so that anyone made homeless in England as a result of domestic abuse will have a legal right to housing.
The Domestic Abuse Bill received royal assent in April 2021, and the law change has now come into force.
The Scottish Government announced a life-changing alteration to the Unsuitable Accommodation Order in response to our Life in Limbo campaign. Our members with lived experience of homelessness, and supporters who contacted their MSPs and responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the law change, were instrumental in winning this campaign.
Success: The legislation is to become effective in 2021, meaning no one in Scotland should have to live in unsuitable temporary accommodation, such as B&Bs, for more than seven days.
Private renting is often the only option for many homeless people but many are locked out because they can’t afford the deposit, can’t find a landlord willing to let to them or don’t get the support they need.
Success: Together with the National Landlord Association, the Residential Landlords Association and thousands of our supporters, we convinced the Chancellor to help homeless people rent.
The Autumn 2017 Budget included £20 million for Help To Rent projects to support homeless people, vulnerable tenants and their landlords.
Rough sleeping in England had doubled since 2010, so when the snap general election was announced, we joined with Centrepoint, Homeless Link, Shelter and St Mungo’s to call on every party in England to end it.
Success: All the major parties committed to ending rough sleeping in England, with the Conservative government’s manifesto pledging to halve it by 2022 and end it by 2027.
Later that year, the government committed £28 million to pilot a new approach solving rough sleeping known as Housing First and launched a Homelessness Reduction Taskforce
There was a real danger the Government would cut the grant it gives to councils to prevent homelessness.
Success: Together with thousands of our supporters who emailed their MP as part of our No One Turned Away campaign, we saved the Homelessness Prevention Grant … and the Government said they would also look at what more they could do to prevent homelessness.
Revenge evictions happen when tenants get evicted for simply asking their landlord to fix poor or dangerous living conditions, leaving them potentially facing homelessness.
Success: Crisis played a key role in supporting a campaign led by Shelter that resulted in the Government passing a law to make revenge evictions illegal.
We argued that the Immigration Bill – which required landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants – would cause problems for homeless people who do not have access to documents like a passport to prove their identity.
Success: We achieved a number of concessions from the Government before the Bill was passed.
After our research showed that homeless people die 30 years before the national average, at just 47, Crisis was one of several charities to demand NHS reforms that take homeless people's health needs seriously.
Success: In 2013 the government announced that fifty-two homelessness projects have been awarded a share of £10 million to ensure homeless people receive better help once they leave hospital.
Crisis and other organisations campaigned to stop government plans for a 10 per cent cut in housing benefit for anyone on Jobseekers' Allowance for more than a year.
Success: The Government announced they would drop the cut from the Welfare Reform Bill.
A joint campaign run by Crisis, Citizens Advice, Chartered Institute of Housing and Shelter calling on the Government to introduce new legislation to protect tenants whose landlords are repossessed.
Success: New primary legislation was introduced giving tenants some breathing space to find somewhere else to live.
1960s – Crisis was founded in 1967 by a group including politicians from across the political spectrum who wanted to bring homelessness to the forefront of public consciousness
1970s and 80s – Annual Crisis at Christmas events were used not just as a way to help homeless people but also to raise public concern about homelessness.
1990s – Crisis increasingly used research to highlight ways in which homeless people’s needs were not met, including issues such as begging, suicide rates and elderly rough sleeping.
2000s – Crisis steps up the scale of its campaigning, with Hidden Homeless work revealing the scale of people sofa surfing, staying in hostels, B&Bs and squats, and Lest We Forget, which highlighted the lack of help available at the time to homeless veterans and helped secure a change in the law.
While we've had huge successes in campaigning, there is still a lot of work to do. In our 50th year as we draw on our experience to develop a plan to end homelessness for good, we will continue to campaign.
Our campaign to stop rogue landlords exploiting people who need housing and support to leave homelessness behind.
Campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises people for sleeping rough and begging.