Public perceptions and homelessness

People’s perceptions are a driving force in forming their opinions, values and feelings about what is important to them, their politics and the way they view the world.

Our perceptions are constantly impacted by external stimuli, from what we see on the news to the experiences we have in our local communities. So the way we present information and tell stories can have a profound effect on every individual’s perceptions of homelessness, and the steps we need to take to end it. This project aims to regularly assess how the general public's perceptions of homelessness is changing.


  • 86% of respondents believe that homelessness is a serious problem in the UK, with 71% saying we do not pay enough attention to homelessness
  • 57% think decisions should be made based on evidence of what works
  • We’re seeing a disconnect between perception and reality. For example, the majority of respondents believe that 11% of the adult population in the UK are homeless. In reality, the figure is closer to 0.5%

How we went about it

We worked with Ipsos to undertake a survey to better understand how the general public perceives homelessness and the role of evidence in addressing it. We also wanted to experiment how to shift perceptions, and explore the kinds of language and framing that could encourage people to think of ending homelessness as a priority for policymakers and something we should all be invested in.

What’s next/ways to get involved

We will commence research with IPSOS on people’s perception of homelessness for 2023 in winter.

Project Details

Last Updated

August 18, 2023





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