St Mungo’s Outreach teams

Thank you for helping us to reach out every night. Outreach teams supported by donors and volunteers, are at the heart of our response to rough sleeping.

Rough sleeping is dangerous and can be both a cause and consequence of physical and mental health problems, bereavements and trauma in people’s lives.

What do outreach teams do?

Our outreach teams go out night after night, and early mornings, to find people who are sleeping rough. They could be people who are new to the street, sleeping rough for the first time, or they may have a rough sleeping history and complicated problems that make it more difficult to move off the streets. Our outreach teams worked with more than 4,080 individuals. On any given night, we provided housing and support to around 3,150 people across England, who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.


Sometimes it can be difficult to find people, even after they’ve been spotted and referred to us by members of the public.

Image:St-Mungo's-OutreachHow do we know where to find people sleeping rough?

Our outreach teams comb the streets looking in areas where rough sleepers are known to sleep. We also rely on referrals from members of the public like you, support workers (from alcohol, drug or mental health services) and public services such as hospitals to let us know where we can find people in need of our help. Sometimes it can be difficult to find people, even after they’ve been spotted and referred to us by members of the public.

To protect themselves from danger and cold weather, many people living on the streets make themselves very difficult to find and try to avoid being noticed in case this brings trouble. This means sleeping in out of the way places. We will search up stairwells, look behind bins and under bushes, wherever we know people sleep.

Why do people live on the streets?

People say there are many reasons why they become homeless, including relationship breakdown, health and other factors. The ending of tenancies in private rented properties has increased sharply over the last decade and this is one of the main causes.

What happens when we find someone sleeping rough?

We gradually build up trusting relationships, meeting with people to offer alternatives to rough sleeping. We work in partnership with other organisations to help people access physical and mental health services, accommodation and drug and alcohol services, as needed. Where appropriate, we assist people with reconnection – helping them to return to their home towns in the UK and abroad. We supported more than 4,000 individuals in emergency hotels since the pandemic began.

With some people rough sleeping, particularly those who have lived on the streets for a long time,it may take a while to gain trust and bring them into some kind of accommodation. Your support helps our outreach workers to build relationships with people who desperately need our help.