How do I help someone who is sleeping rough?

If you see a person sleeping rough, there are a number of ways that you can help them. Details on this page.

Homeless man sleeping on the street
  1. If you see someone in urgent need of medical attention, please call 111 or 999. 
  2. If you see someone sleeping rough, send an alert to StreetLink, which will enable local services to go out and make contact with the individual in order to connect them with the support and accommodation that is available. You can do this on the website: www.streetlink.org.uk by using the mobile phone app or by calling 0300 500 0914.  The alert is sent to the correct local outreach teams in England so that they can find the individual and connect them to support services. The person making the referral should receive feedback. 13,000 people were connected to support in this way during 2020.
  3. Stop and have a conversation with people you see sleeping rough. Social interaction and support are important all year round.

Always think carefully and check if the person is happy to accept before giving items such as cash, food, blankets or other supplies to someone on the street. They can be surfaces on which diseases transfer. Instead, you could:

  • Ask a nearby café if they will let you ‘pay it forward’, purchasing items for the person to collect.
  • Help someone to send a StreetLink alert or find a local support service if they are in need of essential provision. Be careful not to take the individual's device if they offer it to you to do a StreetLink alert for them, politely decline and use your own device.

Please remember to help safely by continuing to follow the guidelines set out by the Government and Public Health England regarding social distancing, handwashing and hygiene.

Should I give money to people on the streets?

This is your choice. Once you have given someone cash you cannot expect to have any say in how they use it. They might choose to buy food for themselves, or their families or pets. But, if they have an addiction, they may use the money in ways that you wouldn’t choose yourself. Giving cash may help someone with their short term needs, but it is unlikely to solve their problems in the longer term.

Should I buy a Big Issue?

Yes. The Big Issue is a great organisation who help many people without homes, or likely to lose their home, to earn a small income and get themselves back on their feet.

Should I support Café Art

https://www.cafeart.org.uk/

Again Yes! Another great organisation and Homeless Link member who support people without homes to create and then sell an annual calendar to support themselves

Download a PDF version here

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