More about the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) 

Who has information recorded about them on CHAIN?

Information is recorded on CHAIN about the following groups of people:

  • People who have been seen rough sleeping by outreach workers - often referred to as 'verified rough sleepers'
  • People who have a 'street lifestyle' such as street drinking or begging - often referred to as ‘wider street population'. Many people who have a street lifestyle are also rough sleepers, but a minority are not

CHAIN does not cover 'hidden homeless' groups, such as those who are squatting or staying in places which are inaccessible to outreach workers.

What information is recorded on CHAIN?

  • Basic identifying and demographic information
  • Contacts made with outreach workers - both when a person is 'bedded down' and when they are not 'bedded down'
  • Arrivals and departures from short term accommodation such as hostels, including the reasons for departures
  • Basic indications of support needs people have, for example drug misuse or physical health problems

Who records information on CHAIN?

Information is added to the system by services who work directly with rough sleepers and the street population in London. This includes:

  • Outreach teams
  • Rough sleeper assessment and reconnection services, such as No Second Night Out
  • Accommodation projects, including hostels, second-stage accommodation and supported housing projects
  • Day centres
  • Other specialist services

CHAIN research reports

The CHAIN service has published a number of reports based on information recorded in the system. These are available from the publications resource on this website, using the links below:

Profiling London's Rough Sleepers:  A Longitudinal Analysis of CHAIN Data (Full Report) - 2009

Profiling London's Rough Sleepers:  A Longitudinal Analysis of CHAIN Data (Summary) - 2009

Evictions and Abandonments Data From CHAIN - 2010

Analysis of Support Needs Data on CHAIN - 2008

How can I find out more about CHAIN?

If you have any queries regarding CHAIN reports or need to know more about how CHAIN works, please call the CHAIN Team on 020 3856 6007 or email

If you have a media enquiry, please call the St Mungo's Communications Team on 0203 856 6009.