Women’s Rough Sleeping Census

Women are under-represented in rough sleeping statistics and provision, yet research, lived experience and the experiences of services tell us that women are some of the most vulnerable within the rough sleeping population.

The Women’s Rough Sleeping Census aims to collect more comprehensive data on women experiencing rough sleeping and trial a different method of data collection.

The most recent census was conducted in September 2023 in 41 local authorities across England.

Read our latest census reports below, including the 2023 Women’s Rough Sleeping Census national report authored by Change Grow Live researchers and the census team, and the London 2023 census report.

Census dates:

The 2024 census will take place from 23rd September to 29th September 2024.

We are hosting two online information sessions in July for teams taking part in the 2024 census: you can find more information and register for the sessions in our Training and Resources section below.

On this page, you can also find previous census reports, resources and information about the Women’s Rough Sleeping Census. The most up to date resources will be uploaded to this page and sent to the mailing list.

Watch a short video to hear Maxine, a Solace volunteer, reflect on rough sleeping as a woman and why the census matters, and hear colleagues Ellie and Lucy explain how the census works.

Mailing List:

To receive the latest information, reports and resources for the census, sign up to the mailing list.

If you work outside London and you’re interested in conducting the census in your area, please contact womens.census@solacewomensaid.org for more information.

Women’s Rough Sleeping Census:

The census aims to bring visibility to the experiences of women who are rough sleeping and may not be represented in data, policy or services. We collect anonymised data over one week to build an understanding of women’s rough sleeping, and we use the findings to advocate for and inform change. 

The census gathers data through a survey conducted across a week in September with women who experience rough sleeping, and borough-wide data and discussion meetings. We rely on and are hugely grateful to the practitioners and services who conduct the survey with women they work with. 

Taking part in the next census:

In 2023, 44 local authorities in London and across England delivered the census in their area, and even more have expressed interest in taking part in 2024.

Census resources found on this page are being updated for the 2024 census: in the meantime, the 2023 resources can provide useful information about planning for the census which will operate in the same way in 2024.

For more information about how your local or combined authority outside London could take part, please contact us at womens.census@solacewomensaid.org.

Whichever area you’re in, the census is designed for the participation of a wide range of services and sectors. Your service might be a VAWG, health, drug and alcohol, migrant support service or a community group, or another type of support provider: if you work with women who experience homelessness, your service could be involved in or even lead the census in your area.

You can find out more about what the census entails on our 2024 information sheet below. 

Training and resources

In July, we are hosting online information and training sessions for outreach teams and other services. You can find the registration links below. 

Online information and training sessions   

Census outreach information session, Wednesday 24th July, 10am     

Join this online information and training session to learn more about the census and how your outreach team can take part and conduct your gender-informed outreach shifts. This session is for any services who deliver outreach shifts in a census area. Your service might deliver rough sleeping, health, women’s specialist or another type of outreach.     

Register here

Census services information session, Thursday 25th July, 10am     

If your service is looking to get involved in the census, join this online information session to learn more about how the census will work and what your service needs to do to take part. This session is for any services who might sometimes work with women experiencing homelessness. You might be a homelessness, women’s, health or substance use service, or another type of service provider.     

Register here

We will update this page with new recordings and resources following the information sessions, and in the meantime, our recorded sessions and guidance from August 2023 are still available below.


Read our gender-informed outreach guidance for outreach teams planning their census shifts. All those taking part in the shifts should be familiar with this guidance

Read our gender-informed outreach guidance.

Read our guidance for non-outreach services who will be conducting the survey with their service users. All team members taking part should be familiar with this guidance.

Read our non outreach services guidance

Information sessions

Outreach information session – this session was recorded in 2023 and is for services who deliver outreach shifts.


Services information session – this session was recorded in 2023 and is for services who sometimes work with women experiencing homelessness.


Other resources

Download this template services information sheet, which you can edit with your area’s local service information and provide to women you meet during census week.


Can you help to make the census happen in your borough?

Every borough has an amazing set of services who can come together to deliver an impactful census response.

Can you reach out to local services in your borough and encourage them to be involved? Can you arrange meetings with local services and lead the local response, with support from the census team?

If so, your support as a Borough Lead can help to make sure that every borough can fully participate and become informed about the women sleeping rough in their area.

If you’d like to know more about being a Borough Lead in London, get in touch with us at womens.census@solacewomensaid.org.

Can you help us spread the word in your sector?

Women who are rough sleeping need support from lots of different services – it may be that someone reaches a health service or migrant support service before they reach a homelessness service. We want to make sure women are included in the census, whichever support they reach first.

If you can help us by sharing census information with different services in your sector, or recommend meetings or networks we should attend and share information with, or help us to make sure the census is relevant to your sector, please get in touch.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us at womens.census@solacewomensaid.org

Can you volunteer your time during census week?

Volunteers play a vital role in helping to deliver the London Women’s Rough Sleeping Census.

When we start planning for the 2024 census, we’ll be asking for volunteers to support with delivery in London. There’s further information below, and a registration form will be available on this webpage in summer 2024.

We will be asking for volunteers who work or have worked within the homelessness or related sectors, or who might have lived experience of homelessness. This is so that we can be confident that women taking part in the census are approached by people who have understanding and sensitivity about their experiences.

Volunteers will be needed during census week (2024 dates to be confirmed) and will be asked to help conduct surveys with women who have experienced rough sleeping. You may be asked to accompany professional outreach workers on their shifts, or to attend a day centre or another location in a borough.

We primarily ask for women volunteers so we can make sure there is always a woman present when someone is asked to do the survey, to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible. However, if you don’t identify as a woman and would like to be involved, please get in touch once registration opens: we will do our best to arrange a volunteer placement for everyone who registers their interest.

We are grateful to all volunteers for your time.

Census Reports

The most recent census was conducted in September 2023 in London and in 14 local authorities across England. A full report on the London 2023 census results can be found below.

Census 2022

The first census was completed in October 2022. The resulting report by researchers Praxis Collab was published in March 2023 and sets out key findings and learnings from this first-of-its-kind census. 


The census was first designed by Single Homeless Project, The Women’s Development Unit (Solace Women’s Aid and The Connection at St Martin’s) and St Mungo’s, with support from London Councils and the GLA. Thank you to Praxis Collab for their research expertise and support in designing the first census and authoring the report.

Contact us

Eleanor Greenhalgh | womens.census@solacewomensaid.org

Phone | 07483025214

The national development of the census has been supported by Homeless Link, Solace Women’s Aid, Change Grow Live and local authorities and organisations working hard to coordinate the census in their area.

The census in London is delivered in collaboration between Single Homeless Project, Solace Women’s Aid, London Councils and the GLA, with support from the Life Off the Streets Core Group/Women’s Workstream and DLUHC. 

Thank you to the many teams and practitioners across England who work hard to make the census a reality in their area each year.