image: person sleeping rough

Are you worried about someone sleeping rough?

Help get someone away from sleeping on the streets and onto the first step in their recovery.

Please visit the StreetLink website, or download their app from iTunes or the Play store.

Alerting local services to people who are sleeping rough could save lives.

If the situation is an emergency, please don’t hesitate – call 999 for an ambulance or the police.

About StreetLink

Please use StreetLink to tell services where you’ve seen someone sleeping rough. StreetLink is the national referral line, which we manage in partnership with Homeless Link.

By using the StreetLink app, website or phone line, you can alert Local Authorities and homelessness organisations to people sleeping rough. StreetLink urgently connects people experiencing homelessness with the local support available to them.

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What happens next …

Outreach Teams and local support services go out late at night and early in the morning to look for people sleeping on the streets. They use the information provided by people like you to find individuals who are sleeping rough, assess their needs, and move them into accommodation.

Many people sleeping rough have complex needs. We’ll work with them, taking the time to build trust and explain the help we’re able to provide. Helping someone away from rough sleeping can take time, but our Outreach teams will never give up on someone.

That’s just the beginning

Getting someone off the streets is a vital first step towards a person’s recovery, but it’s not the end of the story. At St Mungo’s we’ve developed a recovery based approach which takes a person’s unique skills and strengths and places them at the heart of their own recovery.

Find out more about how we work at St Mungo’s, and how you can get involved. Together, we can make sure that everyone has a place to call home, and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

  • How we work

    How we work

    We look at each individual’s strengths – sometimes known as an ‘asset based’ approach.

    Find out more
  • Our services

    Our services

    we’ve built a wide-ranging network of projects and services to help get people housed, healthy and hopeful.

    Find out more
  • How you can help

    How you can help

    We believe that everyone should have a home and be able to fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

    Find out more

Is it ok to give money to people who are begging or sleeping rough?

Thank you for your concern and thinking compassionately about people who are sleeping rough or who may be homeless.

We don't think it's helpful or constructive to tell you what you should do with your money. That’s your decision. 

What we can offer you is information, based on our experience, so you feel better placed to make your decision.

Firstly, in our experience begging and rough sleeping are two distinct issues. Some people beg but are not homeless or sleeping rough. Similarly, not everybody who is homeless will go out and beg. Most major cities now also have places where people in need can get food.

Rough sleeping – if you are concerned about someone rough sleeping, please use the national Streetlink app or website to refer the person and help connect them with local services.

The evidence is that rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and potentially life-threatening. We believe in supporting people away from the streets, into accommodation and access to services that can help them.

The reasons people sleep rough are often complex, with a mixture of long term and short term causes. Our outreach teams go out each night to meet with people sleeping rough, build trust with them, and help them to move away from the streets. This can take days, weeks or sometimes, months. Sometimes giving money to people sleeping rough can make this job harder and may result in them staying on the street for longer.

All of our hostels are free at the point of access. People are referred into our hostels, usually via outreach teams or local housing or health professionals. Nobody needs to pay up front to come into them.

Some people may not be able to access this type of service, however: in which case it may be true that they need to pay in advance for their accommodation.

If you are concerned someone is in immediate danger, call 999.

Begging – from listening to people we work with, and our staff and sector partners, the feedback is that some people beg because they have no access to benefits or a wage and are destitute. For others, it could be that they have somewhere indoors to sleep but need money to pay for other things, including drugs or alcohol.

There are services in most major cities that provide food to people who are hungry (including day centres and food banks). These services often signpost people to services that can help  them longer term – or provide those services themselves.

If you are concerned about anti-social behaviour relating to street activity including begging, call 101.

How else can I help?

We would ask you to consider:
•         Talking to the person, listening to them, asking if they’d like anything other than money, for example, some support away from the streets
•         Donating to or volunteering with charities like St Mungo’s who are working to help vulnerable people
•         Campaigning to help people who are rough sleeping, disadvantaged and marginalised.

Thank you again for your concern and your compassion.

Rough sleeping is dangerous and harmful to a person’s health. Poor health can be both a cause and consequence of rough sleeping. If you see somebody in need of urgent medical assistance, please call 999.