As one of the largest providers of outreach services in England, we go out morning, noon and night to meet people who are sleeping rough. We work with our clients to gain their trust and offer them routes out of homelessness.
For many, meeting a member of our outreach team is the first step on their journey to recovery. Often, it is members of the public like you who make these meetings possible.
What is StreetLink and how does it work?
StreetLink is a referral service that can be used by anyone who wants to help someone sleeping rough. Ellie is a volunteer shift leader, and tells us more about it.
If you want to help someone you’ve seen sleeping rough, but don’t know what to do, StreetLink is a simple way to take action. Send an alert on our website, app or telephone line, providing the exact location of where you have seen someone sleeping.
“StreetLink will then process your alert and pass it on to the local outreach team, so they can go out and look for the person.
“If the outreach team is able to find someone, they’ll do an assessment to see what their situation is, connect them with local services, and work to help them move off the streets for good.
“At StreetLink’s telephone line, we take calls from both members of the public who have seen someone rough sleeping and people who are rough sleeping themselves. We can signpost them to local organisations, such as their local housing options, where they can make a homeless application.
“We might also direct them to day centres, where they can get food, showers and advice during the day time.
“There have been a few times when someone has called to make an alert after going through the StreetLink process themselves. They’ve been helped by someone making a StreetLink alert for them, and want to do the same for someone else. So it’s great to see that it works!”
StreetLink is run by St Mungo’s in partnership with HomelessLink.
What makes a good StreetLink alert?
“When making an alert, we need a really clear location. You might identify a nearby building or street. Some people use what3words, which breaks an area down into 3×3 meter squares, which is especially useful if someone’s rough sleeping in a forest or woodland area.
“The outreach teams who respond to our alerts get lots of referrals to attend, so it makes it easier for them to reach as many people as possible.
“Describing what the person is wearing and any standout characteristics is helpful too.”
You can make a StreetLink alert by downloading the app, or visiting their website. Please remember that StreetLink is not an emergency response service. If someone requires urgent medical attention, call 999.
How can I get involved?
“We’re always on the lookout for volunteers on the telephone line. Especially as we head towards winter time, when we tend to get very busy. We have about 40 volunteers at the moment, but we want to get back to where we were pre-pandemic, when we had around 80. It would help us to reach so many more people.
“Most of our work is volunteer led, and we’re so proud of the work they do. When people first come in, they might be a bit nervous about having to get on the phone. But we provide lots of training and listen in to their first calls, so that if there’s any difficult situations, they know what to do. It’s great to see our volunteers grow more confident and feel that they’re making a difference.
“Last year, we nominated five volunteers for The Marsh Awards, which celebrates the achievements of volunteers across the UK, and all five won! It was a really rewarding moment for the whole team.”
If you’re interested in volunteering with our London-based StreetLink team, and would like more information, click here.