Video report by ITV London correspondent Martin Stew
Over half of the country's homeless population are living in London, figures show.
Nearly 170,000 people are roughing it in the capital out of a total of 320,000 nationwide.
The rise was a result of a "perfect storm" of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a lack of social housing, Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said.
Shelter said the figures revealed the true scale of the UK's housing crisis, which was worsening despite Government pledges to tackle the problem.
"It's unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home," she said.
"Record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room."
Shelter launched its winter appeal on Thursday to support front line staff who are helping desperate people to find or keep their home.
"We're asking the public to support us this winter so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand," Ms Neate said.
Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire said the Government was determined to end homelessness but conceded more could be done.
"No-one should be left without a roof over their head, which is why we are determined to end rough sleeping and respond to the causes of homelessness," he said in response to the Shelter report.
"Our rough sleeping strategy, support for councils and those working on the front line are helping to get people off the street and into accommodation as we enter the colder winter months."
He added: "But we know that there is more that we need to do and we're committed to working with Shelter and others to make a positive difference."