What you can do to help homeless people in London
In London, there were 1,136 people estimated to be sleeping rough in autumn 2019. This is a decrease of 147 people or 11 % from 2018 and an increase of 721 people or 174 % since 2010*. It is more and more likely that you will pass someone or several people, perhaps quite regularly, sleeping rough in your area.
Most people don’t know what to do to help a homeless person.
We believe that the best way to make a lasting change to the people that you see is to donate to a charity like Evolve who can get them the support they need to ensure they don’t return to the streets.
In the short term, Streetlink helps members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with local services that can support them. You can visit their website or download the app from their website to send an alert. The outreach team will visit the person in the location you have identified, and support them to connect with services to provide them short and long term accommodation, like ours.
If the person needs urgent medical attention or you believe they are under 18 years of age please call 999.
If it’s safe and you feel comfortable to do so, take a moment to acknowledge them and say a simple ‘hello’.
Winter in London
A range of Winter Shelters (or cold weather shelters) operate in London each winter. Some open just for a week over Christmas, others are open for several months. They vary in size from about 10 to 30-40 spaces. A lot of the shelters listed are organised by local church or faith-based groups and operate in a different church hall or community space each night on a rota basis. Details of the venue for the night are given when someone is offered a place. The shelters are usually staffed by volunteers, offer basic accommodation in communal sleeping areas and provide breakfast and an evening meal. There is not usually a charge for staying in the shelter. Getting into a winter shelter is usually done on a referral basis and often coordinated by one local organisation. Although they may take referrals directly from homeless individuals or from any agency, there may be an expectation that a referring agency will be responsible for providing ongoing support to the
person and helping with their move on.
*Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Rough Sleeping Statistics Autumn 2019, 27 February 2020