We know that local people are concerned with homelessness as highlighted by our Christmas campaign where we matched public donations. OCF commissioned a survey by YouGov on behalf of Oxford Homeless Movement to dig a little deeper and provide a benchmark of national and local attitudes to homelessness.

The research found:

  • People in Britain and in Oxfordshire do care about homelessness. 40% are “very concerned about homelessness and rough sleeping” in Oxfordshire compared to 30% nationally.
  • People in Britain are not clear about who is helping to tackle the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK – with 37% saying ‘nobody’ or ‘they do not know’.
  • Shelter has the largest number of Brits recognising its contribution unprompted with 26% followed by Charities in general at 15%. Few people see Local government (7%) or Central Government (4%) as helping
  • When asked who should be responsible for helping with the issue from a prompted list there was a clearer view with 67% of Brits saying Central Government and 65% saying their Local Council and 50% saying charities.
  • These numbers were higher in Oxfordshire – 71% saying Central Government, 68% Local Council and 55% charities should be responsible for homelessness. This fits with the aim of Oxford Homeless Movement – that has these groups working together.
  • There is untapped potential for donations and volunteering. Far more people say they would consider both than say they have done them. 41% of people in Oxfordshire would be willing to donate in the future compared to 35% nationally.
  • 19% of British adults would give directly to people on the street. More would buy them food or drink at 30% but a similar number would ignore them (29%). Part of the role of Oxford Homeless Movement is help the public understand where they can help.

Oxford Homeless Movement is a budding partnership of public, private and charitable organisations aiming to tackle the problem of rough sleeping in the city. The research responses on who should be responsible for tackling the issue of homelessness fits with this partnership idea. By working together, Oxford Homeless Movement aims to help people off the streets and keep them off the streets.

The partnership is looking at long-term and innovative solutions to the complex problem of homelessness. The idea that something new and different is needed makes sense in terms of the gap, reported in the research, between who is responsible and who is doing something to help today.

Read the full research report Attitudes to Homelessness and Rough Sleeping


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,023 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 8th April 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). A boost for Oxfordshire of an extra 126 respondents, which has been weighted and representative of all Oxfordshire adults has been quoted separately, only where it is statistically correct to do so.