Connecting people sleeping rough to local services

Frequently Asked Questions

StreetLink is a website, mobile app and phone service for England and Wales, which enables people to send an alert when they see someone sleeping rough to connect that person to local support services that can help to end their homelessness. 

StreetLink itself is not an outreach service or an accommodation provider, nor is it an emergency service. It is the link between someone sleeping rough and the independent local services available.

StreetLink is a non-profit organisation managed and delivered by Homeless Link in partnership with St Mungo’s. It is principally funded by the UK Government (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government), with additional funding from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Welsh Government. This funding does not represent any form of government endorsement of advertisements associated with StreetLink.

StreetLink is not an emergency service. If you think someone needs urgent medical attention, please call 999.

The member of the public provides details about the rough sleeper’s location and general appearance, which are sent to the correct, independent local homelessness outreach team, so they can locate the individual and connect them to support services. The person sending the alert initially receives details of the action the outreach team normally takes when they are told someone is sleeping rough, which will vary locally. StreetLink also finds out what has happened as a result of the alert within 14 days and, if requested, provides the member of the public with an update.

You can send StreetLink an alert about someone sleeping rough via our: 


Mobile app: ‘StreetLink’ from Apple iTunes / Google Play store

Phone: 0300 500 0914 

The service can get busy so wherever possible we advise people to use either our website or mobile app.

The more you can tell us, the better the chance the person can be found by the outreach teams. Please give us much detail as you can about the location where the person sleeps rough - you can use the map on the app to pinpoint the location and include description of things nearby. 

 Telling us the time of the day you’ve see the person you are concerned about is really helpful and try and include as many identifying details as possible such as name, age, gender etc. 

If you can alert StreetLink to someone when the person is sleeping/bedded down then that will help the outreach team find them more easily. 

StreetLink passes your alert on to independent street outreach teams who have been commissioned by the local council to provide a service in their area. For example, Trident Reach is the outreach service for Birmingham; P3 is the service for Lincolnshire, and these will operate slightly differently. Some local councils opt to receive alerts from StreetLink directly if they have not commissioned an outreach service. Outreach workers are trained to offer support and will look at the options available to help people who are sleeping rough. StreetLink itself is not an outreach service. 

Most outreach teams we refer to go out at night and during the early hours of the morning to find people who are rough sleeping. The frequency with which outreach teams operate varies across the country. Not every team goes out every night, but they will use the information from StreetLink alerts on their next shift. Most will make more than one attempt to find the person if they are not found on the first try.

Outreach teams learn and receive referrals about people sleeping rough from different sources, including from other local services. StreetLink alerts from the public provide extra information for outreach services, and may make them aware of new people, who can then receive help more swiftly.

StreetLink processes alerts and passes them swiftly on to the local outreach team, which aims to visit people on their next overnight shift. However, this may take a number of days and varies from area to area. 

Every situation is different but usually the outreach teams that find a person sleeping rough first undertake an assessment with the person. They will then work with them 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.

The outreach team must provide feedback to StreetLink on the outcome of the alert within 14 working days and this is shared with the person who made the alert if requested.

StreetLink doesn’t provide accommodation. StreetLink is a website, phone app and telephone line that acts as a way of a connecting people who are rough sleeping to local services for support. If you are in need of accommodation advice you can contact Shelter on 0808 800 4444, open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. 

Rough sleeping is defined as "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; not all people who are begging are rough sleeping and vice-versa. This does not mean people who are begging don't need help, as in most cases they do, but they might need a slightly different type of support from local services. 

If someone is begging on the streets during the day it may not necessarily be in the same place they sleep at night. This means when outreach teams go out at night with information from an alert made during the day, they may not be able to find the person you were concerned about. 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 it’s someone’s own decision whether to give money to someone but there are several other ways to make a difference that might have a longer-term positive impact. The best thing to do is to use the StreetLink service, which will link the person up with local charities that can provide the best type of support.

Severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to get people off the streets during periods of adverse weather, by providing emergency accommodation to anyone sleeping rough. Each local authority (LA) is responsible for SWEP provision in their area. There is no legal requirement to have a SWEP, but LAs have a moral obligation to ensure that there is provision in place for people sleeping rough during severe weather, to prevent deaths on the streets.

When is SWEP activated?

There is no fixed trigger – the aim is to prevent harm and death. Some local authorities provide SWEP for every night forecast at zero or below; others open shelter when the ‘feels like’ temperature approaches zero or when there are yellow weather warnings. Some still use the historical minimum trigger of three nights forecast below freezing, but a more flexible approach is now recommended. 

For more information about SWEP, see Homeless Link’s guidance: 

How is SWEP accessed?

You can send a StreetLink alert when a SWEP is active to help the local outreach teams find someone sleeping rough so that they can refer them into the emergency accommodation. However, SWEP can also be accessed directly through the local authority, service provider or outreach team. StreetLink does not manage SWEP, nor is it a direct accommodation provider or emergency service.

If you are having technical issues with the StreetLink website or Mobile App please send an email to - please note that we cannot process StreetLink alerts sent through to this email address. 

The StreetLink app is built using Salesforce software; as such a standard Salesforce permissions message pops up when the app is installed. However, StreetLink does not ‘access or manage’ any data on someone’s phone. The only data accessed by StreetLink is a location at the point an alert is submitted (if the user has enabled location services). By using the StreetLink app you are not giving StreetLink or anyone else permission to access any other data.