What can I do if I see someone rough sleeping?

We come across people who are homeless every day, not just in the shelter but also in the streets, on public transport, at our churches or in our communities. In these situations, it’s not always easy to know what to do, or what can even be done, so Rebekka, one of our in-house advice workers, has come up with some useful snippets of information for when you see someone rough sleeping, and are concerned about them.

 

Check out what the person knows about already and would like to happen now.

  • Depending on someone’s circumstances, they might already know about homelessness services in the area, be linked in with an outreach team, and have thought about where to stay tonight. In that case, they might not want, or need any further support.
  • Someone else, in contrast, might be sleeping rough for the first time, and would really appreciate a quick chat about what they might be able to do. You might want to let them know about Streetlink (see below), or the day centres.
  • You can find a list of the day centres in Southwark and Lambeth here. You can find further information and services across the wider London area in The Pavement service directory here. They could access the centre in the morning for further support, and check out if they’ve thought about where to stay to increase their safety.

 

Call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914, or fill out their online referral form here.

  • Streetlink will take the location and a short description of the person who is rough sleeping, as well as their phone number if available, and an outreach teams will try and come around to see the person during the night.
  • Depending on someone’s circumstances they might be taken to a hub where they can stay overnight. Others may not be eligible for a hub, but will still be offered advice on the spot.
  • There is no guarantee that an outreach team will come and meet someone, butit is still someone’s best bet to access a place to stay that same night.
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t many walk-in shelters available, so apart from calling Streetlink, there isn’t anything else you can do to help someone access accommodation that very night.