As summer kicks in and temperatures increase across the UK, rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness are at particular risk from the hot weather.
Issues like sunburn, dehydration and heatstroke pose a real threat, as people may be unable to find shelter or afford things that they need to look after themselves.
That’s why we’re calling on all Londoners to keep an eye out for anybody who might be in distress or need assistance. It may not feel like it, but there are things that you can do if you come across someone who is homeless.
Tom Markwell, our Head of Operations, said: “Homelessness tends to make news in the winter when the cold sets in. But we are regularly seeing higher temperatures in the summer and need to consider how this affects people who have nowhere to stay.”
“Being exposed to the sun all day and lacking the resources to buy water, sunscreen or other protection can be a dangerous combination. People who are homeless will not only be very uncomfortable but face potential health risks as well.”
Providing any of the following to people on the streets can help:
If somebody is visibly unwell, in immediate distress or under the age of 18, we advise that you call 999. You can also register somebody’s location (with their permission) via the StreetLink app, so that outreach teams to come and provide support.
In London, figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network showed a 14% increase in rough sleeping in the first quarter of this year compared to 2022. Factors like the cost-of-living and rising rents have placed more people at risk, with the capital accounting for around half of all rough sleepers in the southeast of England.
Tom said: “we know Londoners are under a lot of pressure, and rough sleeping increases are a real concern. It can be hard to know how to help if you see somebody on the streets, but there are always things you can do.”