Anyone can become homeless, and sleeping rough can be dangerous and can damage your health.
The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that they will become trapped on the streets and vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, developing drug or alcohol problems, or experiencing problems with their health.
Rough sleepers may not be known to local services because they remain out of sight, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place.
Not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and support is available to them.
How you can help
StreetLink is a service that enables the public to alert local authorities in England and Wales about rough sleepers in their area.
By telling StreetLink about someone who is sleeping rough, you will help to connect that person to the local services available.
Should I ask people about their situation?
There is no need to approach someone you don’t know to ask them about their situation. This is the job of local services. All you need to do is contact StreetLink and give them some details about the person sleeping rough.
What about people I have seen sleeping rough for a long time?
Some people may have a longer history of rough sleeping, be known to local services and may require longer term support to help them leave the streets. This can include people who suffer with mental health issues or who cannot access services in the area in which they are rough sleeping.
You can still tell StreetLink about these people. Their situation may mean that you do not see a change take place straight away.
What if I know someone who is homeless but they are not sleeping rough?
Rough sleeping is the most visible sign of homelessness. There are other people who are homeless and in temporary accommodation, such as hostels. There are also individuals and families who become homeless but find temporary solutions, such as staying with friends or family. This group of people can approach their local council’s Housing Options service for advice and assistance.
What about people who are on the street but who may not be rough sleeping?
Some people who appear to be sleeping rough may be engaged in street activities, such as drinking or begging, but in fact have somewhere to stay.
They may need a different type of response from local services, and this may mean that you do not see a change straight away.
This doesn’t mean your alert to StreetLink is wasted: it’s always better to get in touch about someone you think may be rough sleeping, so that local services can provide support if needed.
How can I find out more?
Visit the StreetLink website for support and advice about rough sleeping.
Rough Sleepers Count
Every year a national survey is conducted to determine the number of people who are sleeping rough on the streets of Wales. It is commonly referred to as the Rough Sleepers Count (RSC).
You can also assist by reporting rough sleepers via the StreetLink website.