The Effects of Homelessness

On average, homeless people die at just 47 years old.

People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. More than one in three people sleeping rough have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless.

Homeless people are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population.

Government street counts and estimates give a snapshot of the national situation. The latest figures showed that 4,134 people slept rough across England on any given night in 2016 - a 16% increase compared to the previous year, and more than double the amount in 2010.

Source: Crisis, December 2017

Get in touch

  • Ely Diocese recognises the scope and complexity of the growing homeless crisis in our country. We recognises the role that churches are increasingly playing as they seek to demonstrate the love of God at work in our communities.
  • Ely Diocese has created the pioneer ministry role of Bishop's Officer for Homelessness to help to equip churches to respond creatively to issues of homelessness and to develop a ministry within the homeless and street-life community. This post is partly funded from the Ely 2025 Growth Fund and is a partnership with Wintercomfort for the Homeless, Hope Cambridge and churches from the City of Cambridge.
  • If you would like to know more, please contact Revd Jon Canessa, Bishop's Officer for Homelessness and Chair of CCHP on 07952 320213.

More Information

Responding to homelessness is not straight forward. It is not simply a case of finding suitable accommodation for someone, even if this were possible. Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. They are far more likely to have been exposed to a breakdown in relationships in the family home; addiction; debt, violence and intimidation, domestic abuse and mental health issues.

People who are homeless typically face additional obstacles in life such as changes to the benefits system. People whose immigration status means they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) cannot claim benefits including housing benefit. These and many other factors contribute to the on-going marginalisation of homeless people in our society.

Jesus was born in a stable to a teenage mother, became a refugee and would have been"sofa surfing" throughout his ministry. Today we would categorise Jesus in his season of public ministry as one of the "hidden homeless"; he and his disciples were dependent on the kindness of others to provide for their most basic needs.

Jesus directly challenged those in authority, power and influence when the law did not promote care and compassion for those at the margins.

Links to further resources on Homelessness and Homeless Sunday can also be found on the following websites.

Church Housing Trust

Housing Justice

  • Housing Justice is the national voice of Christian action to prevent homelessness and bad housing.

Social Responsibility Network

  • SRN is a network of people that are passionate that the church engages with the issues of our communities. https://srnet.org.uk


  • Crisis supports people out of homelessness through education, training and support with housing, employment and health.
  • Crisis carries out pioneering research into the causes and consequences of homelessness, and campaign for the changes needed to end it. https://crisis.org.uk