SteetLink is a website, mobile app and phone line that enables members of the public to alert local authorities and street outreach services in England and Wales about people they have seen sleeping rough. The service offers the public the means to do something to help and is the first step to ensuring the person they are concerned about is connected to the support available to them. StreetLink is run in partnership between Homeless Link and St Mungo's and is funded by grants from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Greater London Authority and the Welsh Government. This funding does not represent any form of government endorsement of advertisements associated with StreetLink.
To give members of the public an opportunity to help people who are sleeping rough. StreetLink allows you to be the eyes of local services, providing vital information that will help them locate people who are rough sleeping and offer support.
The location - people tend to sleep in quieter locations, not exposed ones. The time - people usually sleep at night and the outreach teams usually operate during this time. If someone is seen during the day they can be signposted to daytime services. The activity - we need to know where someone is sleeping, not where they might be begging or engaged in street activity.
SteetLink is a website, mobile app and phone line that enables members of the public to alert local authorities and street outreach services in England and Wales about people they have seen sleeping rough. The service can get very busy so wherever possible we advise people to use either our website or mobile app to let us know about someone you have seen sleeping rough, however you can also get in touch via our phone line on 0300 500 0914.
Because the information you provide is sent to teams who will go out and look for the person you have seen at the location you give. If we do not have good details about the location, it can be extremely difficult to find the person.
This will usually be done by a street outreach team who have been commissioned by the local council to provide a service in their area. Outreach workers are trained to offer support and will look at the options available to help people who are sleeping rough.
The majority of the outreach teams we refer to go out and night and during the early hours of the morning to find people who are rough sleeping. Although it is recognised that people may also sleep out during the day, from experience these sites are easily confused with begging and/or street activity. The frequency with which outreach teams operate varies across the country. Most do not go out every night, but will action StreetLink alerts on their next shift.
Every situation is different but the services that find a person sleeping rough usually will first undertake an assessment. They will then work with the individual to look at solutions to try and end their rough sleeping; one of these options might be temporary accommodation. However, this work can sometimes take time, meaning that you might not see a change in the person's situation straight away, although support is being offered.
Not everybody sitting or begging on the streets is sleeping rough. For this reason a clear definition has been agreed on who does and who does not count as a rough sleeper: "People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation".
Begging and rough sleeping don't always go hand-in-hand; in fact, many people who beg are not actually rough sleeping. This does not mean that they don't need help, as in most cases they do. However, if they've been sleeping on the streets all night, it's unlikely that they'll stay out on the streets all day too and will often be trying to stay inside and keep warm where possible during the day. Those begging or drinking on the streets but who have somewhere to stay at night may need a different type of support from local services, and this may mean that you don't see a change straight away. This does not mean that 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.
Ultimately we believe that the choice of whether to give money to beggars or not lies with the individual. Many people who are begging are not sleeping rough and equally, not all people who sleep rough, beg. In the longer term, giving money to people who are begging can aid harmful or destructive behaviours, and if begging is a viable solution for someone, there may be fewer incentives to move away from the streets and into stable accommodation. There are many alternative ways of helping people who are homeless, for example by donating to or volunteering with local homelessness services.
Severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to get rough sleepers off the streets during periods of below zero night-time temperatures, by providing emergency accommodation.
Is there a duty to have a SWEP? Housing authorities have a moral obligation to ensure that there is provision in place for rough sleepers during periods of extreme cold weather, to prevent people dying on the streets during cold weather following SWEP guidance.
When does the SWEP come into place? The trigger for SWEP is when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights.
If you are having technical issues with the StreetLink website or Mobile App please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - please note that we cannot process StreetLink alerts sent through to this email address.