Our purpose is to change lives through better sight and hearing by making expert care accessible and affordable for everyone, especially people who are disadvantaged. This includes people experiencing homelessness, who experience a higher level of eye problems1 yet can face major barriers getting eye care. We’re working to make sure that they can better access the care they need.

How we’re helping to increase access to care

“Specsavers is here for everyone,” says our co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins.
“We just haven't seen them all yet.”

We’re working to improve access to eye and hearing care for all, including those experiencing homelessness, and we want to make a long-term difference. We’re doing this through partnerships with organisations like Crisis, VCHP and The Big Issue, and will be starting to provide out-of-hours eyecare clinics in some of our stores for people affected by homelessness in 2024. We’re also using our brand strength to highlight the wider needs of those experiencing homelessness and to push for change.

Our partnerships

We’re working with our partners to remove barriers for people experiencing homelessness. Together, we’re helping people access care.


We’re working with Crisis on the annual ‘Crisis at Christmas’ campaign, and we’ll be providing 10 days of clinics across the country this festive season. We’re also helping Crisis to provide two new eyecare clinics, run by Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP), at the flagship Crisis Skylight centres in London and Edinburgh.

Our funding for the Edinburgh clinic is creating a wellness space where Crisis members can access a range of health and wellbeing services, such as physical and mental health support, podiatry and more.


The Big Issue

We offer free eyecare in the form of eye tests, OCT scans and glasses if needed, as well as wax removal, to all Big Issue vendors and the social enterprise’s frontline workers. We also sponsor the distinctive red tabards worn by vendors.


Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP)

We’ve extended our long-held partnership with VCHP to help them triple in size from seven to 24 clinics during the next five years , including expanding into Scotland and Wales.  

To support and better inform our clinical delivery and understanding, Specsavers and VCHP have also formed an involvement group with people who have experienced homelessness. Insight from this group will inform how accessibility can be improved within VCHP clinics and our stores.

To find your nearest clinic, see visioncarecharity.org

Simon Community NI

In Northern Ireland, we’re working with Simon Community NI. Our collaboration will support the wider needs of those experiencing homelessness, as well as piloting clinics for Simon Community clients in 2024.


in the UK today

If changes aren’t made, the Homelessness Monitor Great Britain predict that in 2023 300,000 households in the the UK could face the worst forms of homelessness2.

Homelessness is the lack of safe, secure accommodation.

Rough sleeping is the most visible form, but it’s just one type. Many people experiencing homelessness are ‘hidden’.

Hidden homelessness includes those who are sleeping on friends’ sofas and floors, in cars or living in unsuitable temporary accommodation. People in these situations often don’t show up in official statistics.

The impact of homelessness

When people experience homelessness they may need glasses to improve their sight, which in turn may help them to find accommodation, to look for work, or simply to keep themselves safe. However, they’re particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing eyecare.

They experience a higher level of eye problems1 than the general population and are unlikely to go to a high street optician. 

Research by our charity partner Vision Care For Homeless People found that more than half of those surveyed3 (57%) reported current eyecare needs.

Nearly 65% said they’d put off going to an optician.

Due to the way NHS eligibility works, many people affected by homelessness can't get NHS help at point of care - so they’re not eligible for an NHS sight test and a voucher towards their glasses.

How to direct someone to help

If you want to direct someone experiencing homelessness to services that can help them, please use the details here.

England and Wales

StreetLink by phone, 0300 500 0914, or via the StreetLink app.

StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.


Local council or Simon Community Scotland, which has a wide range of services. 

Northern Ireland

In Belfast, call the Welcome Organisation on 07894 931047 (7am-2am) and 07851 246814 (2pm-2am).

In the North West, call First Housing Aid and Support Services on 07540 100208.

In other parts of Northern Ireland, call the Housing Executive on 03448 920908.

There is also the Homeless Support helpline on 0800 171 2222. 

  1. Gelberg L, Andersen RM, Leake BD. (2000) Healthcare Access and Utilization. The Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations: Application to Medical Care Use and Outcomes for Homeless People Health Service Research 34, 1273-1302. National Centre for Biotechnology Information 2000
  2. Crisis (no date) About homelessness [online] available at https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/about-homelessness/
  3. Homeless voices (2019) Unpublished by VCHP