May 5th - June 28th

Ending Homelessness Challenge: with Crisis UK

A message from Liz Choonara, Head of Entrepreneurship at Crisis:

Crisis works to end homelessness, we know that homelessness is not inevitable and together we can end it. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, we have been working hard to support people who are homeless who are especially exposed to the coronavirus outbreak through our In This Together campaign. We have delivered essentials packages to those experiencing homelessness, kept our services open, supported local charities and shelters, and helped homeless organisations work together to reach more people who need us most.

We are now looking to develop innovative ideas to the challenges that have arisen due to this crisis – and we want your help. We are looking for entrepreneurial individuals with a range of backgrounds, expertise, and experiences to create new solutions to prevent homelessness for those who may be at risk of it due to coronavirus and to ensure rough sleepers can move into long-term accommodation.

We are looking for individuals with expertise in data science right through to public health and housing. We will be working with The Collective Foundation to provide research briefs and advice to those working on these ideas to make them robust and give them as much chance of success as possible. We will then work with successful teams to help bring their ideas to life over the coming months. 

We believe that entrepreneurship can help end homelessness and we invite you to join us in making this a reality.

May 11th: Launch of the programme
June 28th: Deadline to submit your ideas
June 29th:
Ideas are reviewed & Selection of most promising ideas
July 2nd: 
Online Pitch event to select the winning team(s)

The Challenges

How can we support people who experience homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis?

Housing in a changing property market

How can we increase permanent housing options for those experiencing homelessness in light of a dramatically changing property market? How do we take advantage of lower rents, freed up property to increase housing stock?

Transitioning into permanent housing

How can we ensure rough sleepers who have been housed in hotels are moved into permanent housing & successfully transition into community? How can we ensure people are permanently housed across social and private rented housing and not back on to the streets? How could we mobilise volunteers to provide the community and engagement to people both in hotels and once they are rehoused?

Preventing a cycle of homelessness

How can we ensure people who are at risk of homelessness from drops in income, high rents or changes in circumstances are not pushed into homelessness? How might we work with organisations, services and community groups who come into contact with people at risk of homelessness to stop it happening in the first place?

Why join?

Joining the Ending Homelessness Challenge will increase the chance of success for your idea. Once you sign up, you will get access to our online platforms where you can share your ideas, find team members, or join other teams. You can read Crisis’ research briefs to get a better understanding of the problems that the people who experience homelessness face.

You will be supported throughout the idea development process by our mentors. You will also get access to our educational content, our network of partners, and feedback sessions with frontline experts who can validate your idea.

By the end of the Ending Homelessness Challenge, the most promising ideas will be selected to be brought to life with the support of Crisis. The winning team(s) will be supported by the Crisis Enterprise Team to take their idea to the next stage through access to expert advice, relevant resources, and sector connections.

If you don’t have an idea and simply want to donate your skills, you can join projects from other people in the community.

How to get involved

step 1

Choose a challenge

Before sign-ups closed, participants have joined our private Ideanote platform. On Ideanote, they read more information about the challenges to get a better understanding of the problems.

step 2

Join the community

Once you signed up, you will have received an invitation to join our private Slack channel. Find other socially driven people with whom you can collaborate on the challenges. Discuss your ideas with each other. Create or join your dream team. 

step 3

Work on your idea

Between May 11th and June 28th, you can work on your idea with your team. You will have access to our educational resources, mentors, webinars and opportunities to speak with Crisis to receive feedback and make your idea stronger. 

step 4

Present your idea

Submit your idea on our Ideanote platform by June 28th. The most promising ideas will be selected by Crisis to pitch at an online finale event on July 2nd. The winning team(s) will be supported by the Crisis Enterprise Team to take their idea to the next stage through access to expert advice, relevant resources, and sector connections.


Who can participate?

We would encourage people with the following expertise & backgrounds to participate in this challenge:

Service design
Data analytics
International Development
Public Health  
Property acquisition and development 
Design thinking 
Community integration and development

The context of this challenge is UK-focused. Participating teams should have at least 1 person based in the UK, while the rest of the team may consist of people from anywhere in the world. As Crisis is based in the UK, the winning idea(s) will be realised in the UK.

What is the timeline of this programme?

May 5th: Sign-ups open
June 28th: Deadline to submit your ideas
June 29th: Ideas are reviewed & Selection of most promising ideas
July 2nd: Online Pitch event to select the winning team(s)

What is an Innovation Challenge? 

An innovation challenge promotes innovation by crowd-sourcing potential solutions for a particular problem.  

Compared to other programmes, the Collective Innovation Challenge is 100% online and focuses entirely on helping charities innovate during the COVID-19 crisis. 

What type of ideas can we create?

Ideas could take any format: tech solutions, grassroots initiatives, physical products, online campaigns, and more.

I want to get involved as a donor or partner. How can I help? 

We welcome the support of organisations who want to donate financially to the most promising ideas that come out of the challenge, or who want to give in other ways.

Please e-mail Andre Damian, Director of The Collective Foundation, at at

How will I work together with others? 

After you sign up to the community, you will get an invitation to join our Slack channel, along with a guide how to use it. We have created different channels for you to introduce yourself and the skills you have to offer, share news and resources, present your idea and recruit team members. 

We encourage all teams to create their own groups within the Slack workspace so you can collaborate together on your idea. Working online is not always the easiest way to communicate, so we will do our best to facilitate this process. 

Teams should consist of a maximum of 5 people

We highly encourage participants to form teams. We see collaboration as an integral part of creating a successful project. However, if you prefer to work alone on your idea, that is also allowed. We do advise you to seek guidance from Crisis.

How will I get feedback for my idea?

We will organise interactive online sessions in which you will get an opportunity to speak with Crisis.

How do I submit my idea? 

When you have filled in the sign-up form, you will receive an invitation to join our Ideanote platform along with instructions how to use it. You will be able to formally submit your ideas via the platform. 

How will ideas be selected? 

Crisis will select the most promising ideas which will be further supported after the challenge. It is likely that they will favour ideas that are: 
– Feasible
– Impactful
– Inclusive
– Innovative
– Adaptable to existing resources

Can existing organisations or projects participate?

Yes. Whilst we’re primarily looking for new ideas, we are also open to receive ideas from individuals and organisations with existing projects that can be scaled further.

Do you have a code of conduct? 

Yes, and please take the time to read it through here.

Be a part of the solution