What you can do to help homeless people in London
With homelessness on the rise (latest government statistics show a 15% increase in the last year alone, rising to 18% in London*), 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 individual people that you see, is to donate to a charity like Evolve who can get them the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness.
In the short term, Streetlink helps members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with local servies that can help them support them. You can go on their website and send them an alert about the individual and they will help.
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. You can download the full list of Winter Shelters from Homeless Link: London Winter Shelters 2018 – 2019
*Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Rough Sleeping Statistics Autumn 2017, 16 February 2018