Labour plans to tax second properties used as holiday homes by around £3,000 a year if it gets into power.
The levy could hit 174,000 properties in England, raising £560m a year.
The money would be used to help the homeless, particularly children living in temporary accommodation of which there are 120,000.
John Healey, shadow housing secretary, said: “Britain’s rapidly rising homelessness shames us all.
“It is unforgivable that under the Tories, the number of children stuck growing up in hostels and B&Bs has skyrocketed.
“Over the last eight years, the government has turned its back on the scandal of poor housing and homelessness.
“A housing market that works for the many, needs government action to ensure everyone has a place to call home.
“As part of the next Labour government’s plan to rebuild Britain, we will introduce a levy on second homes used as holiday homes, to help homeless families. Labour will act to put a brake on the growing gap between Britain’s housing ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”
The levy would be based on the property’s council tax band and would effectively see the cost of council tax doubled.
The money received would go to the Treasury.