The number of people sleeping rough has risen and could become even worse when housing benefits are cut next year, a new report has warned.
The damning report from the National Housing Federation, Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing also found the government was failing to improve mobility, home ownership or the amount of new builds.
Citing a fall in overall starts, the report warns that "things are getting worse and real progress on housing supply is some way off".
Experts found that overcrowding is worsening and measures to tackle under-occupation are unlikely to resolve the problem.
"The large increase in homeless acceptances and rough sleepers is deeply troubling," the report found.
"Ministers need to respond urgently to this growing problem, which could be exacerbated by further cuts to housing benefit in 2013."
Efforts to lower private rents by reining in benefit expenditure also seem to have made little impact, with the report warning that "the combination of rising rents and falling benefit levels will make housing less affordable for low income households".
The only glimmer of light in the report comes from its findings on evictions and repossessions, with low interest rates and mortgage repayments meaning figures are moving "in the right direction".
"The report paints a bleak picture," shadow housing minister Jack Dromey said.
"Housebuilding is down, homelessness is up and rents are increasingly unaffordable."