Councils are being forced to "leave homeless people on the streets" because of a chronic lack of affordable housing in their areas, Crisis has said.
The charity said its research showed more than a third of those asking their local authority for help saw their situation remain the same or worsen.
In some cases, the only help people were given was a list of potential private landlords for them to contact.
Ministers said support to address rough sleeping was going up by £69m to £437m.
The Local Government Association said their 300 members in England and Wales were doing all they could to help but faced "unprecedented" funding pressures.
In compiling their report, Crisis surveyed 984 people who had been seeking homelessness assistance for two years and conducted face-to-face interviews with 89 others, as well as six local authorities.
It found that legislation introduced in 2018 to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place had "significantly expanded" access to assistance, particularly for single people.