320,000 people, including 135,000 children, are estimated to be homeless in the UK, according to research by Shelter. Staggeringly, this suggests that one in 200 people are homeless and 84,740 households are housed in temporary accommodation which is an increase of more than 75% since 2010.
On top of these troublesome figures, it is estimated that around a quarter of young homeless people are LGBT, making them about five times as likely as their peers to become homeless.
Homelessness can be caused by many factors such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment. Leaving prison without a support network on the outside, escaping a violent relationship or youths being thrown out of the family home after an argument can often lead to individuals becoming alone and isolated.
So, what can we do to help find long-term solutions to this mounting crisis? There are many wonderful charities you can support to help end homelessness. Here are some great campaigns we can all make time to get involved in:
Crisis is the national charity for homeless people working directly with thousands of individuals every year. The charity offers one to one support, advice and courses for homeless people in 12 areas across England, Scotland and Wales.
The charity’s campaign ‘Everybody In’, launched back in 2018 on World Homeless Day, saw the Crisis team up with a mammoth host of celebrities including Tom Hardy, Emma Thompson, Ellie Goulding, Jodie Whittaker and Richard Gere to call for an end to homelessness in Great Britain.
The celebrities have created a video where they read lines from the poem ‘If Everybody Is In’ by Stefan, Crisis’ Poet in Residence, calling for an end to homelessness for good. The emotional and touching video uses recognisable and esteemed figures to highlight the severity of the issue across Britain.
Don’t take our word for it – watch the video with 20 celebrities reading the poem alongside Stefan and two Crisis members.
The Big Issue magazine launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London by offering people the opportunity to earn an income through selling a magazine to the public. 25 years later The Big Issue is a multi-million-pound social investment business supporting enterprise to drive social change.
Last spring, the charity teamed up with Monzo to launch a ‘resellable magazine’, opening the potential for vendors to earn more. Launched under the name of ‘Pay it Forward’, each magazine will feature a QR code that allows readers to pass the magazine on to a friend, who can then scan the front cover to pay for the magazine again.
For the campaign, celebrities including Gary Lineker, Roger Daltrey and Vincent Kompany were recruited to encourage people to buy The Big issue, read it, then pass it on. The launch came just months after The Big Issue revealed it was testing contactless payments for its vendors in line with UK consumers’ increasing trend for cashless transactions.
The project helps vendors earn more money and counters the challenges raised by an increasingly cashless society. View their heart-warming video on the positive effects The Big Issue makes on many lives and the promotion of the campaign.
akt, previously known as the Albert Kennedy Trust help LGBT+ young people who are homeless or living in a hostile environment after coming out to their parents, care givers and peers.
akt has launched multiple high-impact campaigns where they have used celebrities to nail home the realities of homelessness for the LGBT+ community.
Most notably akt created a TV advert with Sir Ian McKellen, Andrew Hayden Smith, Sam Fox, Paul O’Grady, Sue Perkins and Kieron Richardson, all acting as people who beg and sleep in doorways. Between them, they covered the several generations of viewers and hit home demonstrated the extreme trauma and suffering many homeless people are subjected to.
For nearly 50 years, St Mungo’s has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle homelessness. Each night 17 outreach teams help over 2,850 people sleeping rough, moving them away from the streets, and providing a bed and support.
At the end of last year, the housing charity launched its first user-generated digital content campaign to raise awareness of its work. Participants were asked to post a selfie after waking up and use the hashtag #wakeuptohomelessness to encourage their followers to think about those who have slept on the street.
The campaign attracted several celebrity fans, including actor Laurence Fox and presenter Phil Spencer alongside actresses Tamla Kari and Amanda Abbington, and singer Fleur East.
Fronted by celebrity ambassador Victoria Emslie, the Wake Up To Homelessness campaign has exceeded a Twitter reach of 3.5 million, over 30,000 Instagram interactions and 1,300 new website users in under a month.
— Phil Spencer (@PhilSpencerTV) October 11, 2018
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church and international charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents. Across the UK the charity provides over 3,000 places every night in 82 lifehouses and helps 1,208 people through their Employment Plus service.
Coinciding with Anti-Slavery Day on the 18th October The Salvation Army launched their campaign #WeAreNotForSale. With the aim to raise awareness and funds for victims of modern slavery in the UK, the campaign encouraged people to purchase and wear a #WeAreNotForSale temporary tattoo. The tattoo design is in the form of a bar code, illustrating how people are being bought and sold as products for profit.
— Salvation Army Charity Shops (@sallyarmyshops) October 18, 2019
Depaul UK empower young people experiencing homelessness and focuses on helping in crisis and beyond. The charity supports by offering youths a safe place to stay in a crisis, helping individuals to take the step from homelessness into stable housing, and providing specialist long-term support to help get lives back on track.
In a clever outdoor advertising campaign Depaul shows there is ‘another side’ to homelessness with their unique poster positioning. The poster provides two messages that encapsulate two walls across a right angle. When one side is viewed stereotypes and negative perceptions of the homeless arise, but when both walls are visible viewers read a more complex picture.
The campaign aimed to increase the number of Nightstop volunteers by challenging perceptions around homelessness and volunteering.
Interested in finding out how public relations can benefit your charity or awareness campaign? Get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today to find out more.