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All of our readers will doubtless be aware that there are very many rough sleepers in our city, especially if they visit central London.  According to official figures, the number of rough sleepers in the UK has doubled over the past six years.  They are only the tip of the iceberg - the visible sign of the 60,000 families who are currently homeless, but most of whom manage to find a roof for the night one way or another.

Unsurprisingly, the various political parties have differing views on causes of and solutions to the homelessness problem, but I don't intend to discuss them here. 

Instead I would like to draw your attention to a simple way in which we as individuals can help individual rough sleepers - using the StreetLink service to pass details to local authorities.  You can pass the information by phone or using a computer or smartphone app.



About rough sleeping

If you’re concerned about someone sleeping rough, get in touch so that we can connect them to local support and services they need.

The problem

Anyone can become homeless, and sleeping rough can be dangerous and can damage your health.

The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that they will become trapped on the streets and vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, developing drug or alcohol problems, or experiencing problems with their health.

Rough sleepers may not be known to local services because they remain out of sight, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place.

Not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and support is available to them.

How you can help

By telling us about someone who is sleeping rough, you will help to connect that person to the local services available.

About us

We are a service that enables the public to alert local authorities in England and Wales about rough sleepers in their area.

We are funded by the Government as part of its commitment to end rough sleeping.  We aim to offer the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough, and provide the first step someone can take to ensure people sleeping rough are connected to the local services and support available to them.

Common questions

Should I ask people about their situation?

There is no need to approach someone you don’t know to ask them about their situation. This is the job of local services. All you need to do is contact StreetLink and give us some details about the person sleeping rough.

What about people I have seen sleeping rough for a long time?

Some people may have a longer history of rough sleeping, be known to local services and may require longer term support to help them leave the streets. This can include people who suffer with mental health issues or who cannot access services in the area in which they are rough sleeping.

You can still use StreetLink to tell us about these people. Their situation may mean that you do not see a change take place straight away.

What if I know someone who is homeless but they are not sleeping rough?

Rough sleeping is the most visible sign of homelessness. There are other people who are homeless and in temporary accommodation, such as hostels. There are also individuals and families who become homeless but find temporary solutions, such as staying with friends or family. This group of people can approach their local council’s Housing Options service for advice and assistance.

What about people who are on the street but who may not be rough sleeping?

Some people who appear to be sleeping rough may be engaged in street activities, such as drinking or begging, but in fact have somewhere to stay.

They may need a different type of response from local services, and this may mean that you do not see a change straight away.

This doesn’t mean your alert to StreetLink is wasted: It’s always better to get in touch about someone you think may be rough sleeping, so that local services can provide support if needed.

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Diana Bradford's Avatar
Diana Bradford posted a reply #2562 05 Jan 2017 14:18
I think it is important to put this problem into context. If the increase in homelessness had been caused by the changes in social policy from the government we can be ashamed of ourselves for allowing such things to happen in the 21st century but research shows another story.
A large majority are coming here from Eastern Europe and there is no way that number can be controlled at present. By giving support you could say that more will be encouraged to come here. The main thing is that although it is shocking we have not created it and should not feel that it is our society's fault . Then and only then can we develop an effective method of reducing numbers
John Phillips's Avatar
John Phillips posted a reply #2658 29 Jan 2017 17:25
Diana Bradford's view need to be challenged. The crisis of homelessness has been caused by the reckless housing policy of successive governments. 30 years ago we were building close to 300,000 houses a year. Now we can only achieve fraction of that. If you must sell council houses at least let councils replace them. Other countries take in immigrants without the housing crisis that our young people are facing. Our economy needs immigrants because of the ageing popoulation. Blaming foreigners will never solve the problem because it is our fault and we should be ashamed of ourselves.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #2661 01 Feb 2017 11:58
Spot on from John Philips. Despite the eloquence of Diana's post it was essentially a collection of easy cheap shots without much substantiation.

We need to build. But planning policy, NIMBYism (or my preferred term - BANANA - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) will always focus of retarding progress, development & investment.