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Donations to homeless people reach new low, research suggests

Melanie May | 15 December 2023 | News

Looking down into a jar of coins. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Only 4% of Brits gave money to the homeless in 2023, according to research by Beam, a social impact start-up supporting homeless people and refugees. 

Its research suggests rates of giving have also declined year on year since 2021: 11% of people reported donating to the homeless in 2021, falling to 9% in 2022. Average giving in December has fallen from £9 in 2022 and £7 in 2021 to a new low of £3, in the month to date this December. 

According to Beam’s survey of 2,000 adults in the UK conducted during the first week of December 2023, the reasons for declining giving were: not carrying cash (34%), the cost of living crisis (31%), unsure of what the money will be spent on (19%), don’t know enough about the individual (11%), and other causes being a priority (5%). 


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

Beam says the new data highlights the growing impact of a cashless society on giving as well as the misconception that homeless people are mostly rough sleeping or begging, when over 80% are in emergency accommodation.  

The average one-off donation to people from individuals using Beam’s crowdfunding platform since its Christmas 2017 launch is £31.09. It has just launched its “131,370 Reasons to Act Now” campaign. With 131,370 homeless children currently in emergency accommodation in the UK, Beam is working to raise £131,370 through its platform to support the individuals and families it is working with to find a safe and stable home.

Alex Stephany, Founder and CEO of Beam commented:

“This winter, we face a deepening homelessness emergency. Beam’s latest research highlights the UK public still holds some outdated beliefs that directly impact people’s willingness to support homeless people.


“Homelessness is one of the biggest social problems of our time and the need has never been greater. By backing someone on Beam, people can give transparently as each homeless person has their own budget with costs broken down to the nearest pound.”