Funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation The Homelessness Monitor is a longitudinal study providing an analysis of homelessness and impacts of economic and policy developments across each of the four countries of the UK.  The first English monitor was released in 2011 and the monitor was extended to other parts of the UK with subsequent reports document the change in homelessness trends since baseline data was undertaken.

Key findings

A wide definition of homelessness is adopted in the Homelessness Monitor, and the monitor considers the impacts of relevant policy and economic changes on all of the following homeless groups:

  • People sleeping rough.
  • Single homeless people living in hostels, shelters and temporary supported accommodation.
  • Statutorily homeless households – households who seek housing assistance from local authorities on grounds of being currently or imminently without accommodation.
  • ‘Hidden homeless’ households – people who may be considered homeless but whose situation is not ‘visible’ either on the streets or in official statistics

The series uses four main research methods:

  1. Review of literature, legal and policy documents
  2. Annual interviews with key informants from statutory and voluntary sectors
  3. Statistical analysis on a) economic and social trends, particularly post-2007; and b) trends in the four homeless groups
  4. Online survey of local authorities

The monitor reports highlight variation in the levels and patterns of homelessness across England, Wales and Scotland. Statutory homelessness policy has diverged significantly across Great Britain since devolution in 1999 and is a contributing factor in explaining these differences.   The monitor looks at trends in homelessness and using qualitative and quantitative analysis considers the impact of policy and practice.

The full series of The Homeless Monitor is published online by Crisis.


I-SPHERE’s state-of-the-nation Homelessness Monitor provides an authoritative analysis of the homelessness impacts of economic and policy developments and has been pivotal in:

  • pioneering new homelessness prevention legislation (Homelessness Reduction Act 2017)
  • an overhaul of official homelessness statistics in England
  • a recent National Audit Office report/Public Accounts Committee Inquiry on homelessness which has forced government action
  • inspiring an Australian Homelessness Monitor
  • local authority homelessness strategies
  • informing the work of third sector organisations

If there is an example of a higher education research group impacting on and shaping policy responses, it is I-SPHERE’s impact on homelessness policy and direction in England, Scotland and Wales over the last year. Building on the delivery of the Homelessness Monitor, the group has led or been a leading player in key projects that have directly shaped our direction. Crisis has been marking its 50th anniversary by developing and publishing an authoritative plan to end homelessness in Great Britain. This is already having an impact on decision-makers and our discussions with governments. I-SPHERE was involved in several ways, including ground breaking work to establish a dynamic baseline for the work, setting out the current and projected levels of homelessness across Great Britain and modelling the impact of different policy interventions going forward.

Jon Sparkes, CEO, Crisis, the national homelessness charity