Help and support for rough sleepers
The rough sleeping outreach service provides support in the city every day to find and offer help to rough sleepers. Some accept help and manage to rebuild their lives. Others choose not to accept help or accommodation.
Like many cities, Leicester has seen an increase in the number of people sleeping rough, or having street lifestyles. We have also responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by adopting an ‘Everyone In’ approach to ensure everyone is protected and has a safe place to live at this time.
Our team and the charities we work with know most of these people well. Some of them have chaotic lives and they drop in and out of different services or places to stay.
We always try to find people suitable long-term accommodation straightaway. If we can’t, we have a range of temporary accommodation.
- For families, we provide fully self-contained accommodation rather than hostel or shared accommodation.
- For singles and couples, we have different accommodation-based support models dependent upon the individual needs. In addition, we have the Dawn Centre which is open as an emergency hub and assessment centre, as well as 44 self-contained rooms.
- As part of the ‘Everyone In’ initiative we have also secured an additional 180 units of accommodation to provide safe short-term accommodation for people who would otherwise nowhere to stay.
We also continue to work with a huge range of partners across the city that provide temporary accommodation and support for people who are homeless.
Support for people with drug and alcohol problems
Substance misuse and mental health problems are a big barrier to getting people off the streets. We know that some people beg in the city, and sleep rough, because of these problems, even when they actually have somewhere to stay.
There are a wide range of services to help people with these problems, including our recovery centre - No. 5 Hill Street. The centre gives Leicester’s street drinkers and those with serious drug addictions access to healthcare and treatment to help them tackle their addictions. It also meets basic needs like access to food, showers and laundry facilities. No.5 has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic to ensure this support has continued to be provided.
How you can help rough sleepers and beggars
The number of rough sleepers is currently at an all-time low in the city, however there are still beggars visible on our streets. Most of the people who beg in the city are known to the council and the police. Some of them are not homeless but beg because they have serious drug or alcohol addictions.
We know what their circumstances are, and which services have worked with them. Working in partnership with the police we are trying to find new ways to reduce the number of people with street lifestyles in the city. We have been able to help a number of people move away from this way of living and find them help with drug addiction and suitable accommodation.
Some beggars are very intimidating, and the police can take action if they witness aggressive behaviour. Sometimes we have no choice but to take court action if people are threatening or causing nuisance in the city. If you witness such behaviour you can let the police know by calling 101.
Report someone sleeping rough on StreetLink
If you see someone sleeping rough you can report it to us by using the StreetLink app, phone number or website. StreetLink is a national organisation that passes reports on to the relevant local authority.
When we get a notification from StreetLink, a member of our outreach team will go out to find the rough sleeper and offer them help. As well as finding accommodation, our team can put them in touch with other services they might need.
StreetLink allows you to be the eyes and ears of our services, providing vital information to help our outreach team locate people.
We understand that people may want to give money to people who are rough sleeping or begging. That’s a personal decision. Sometimes giving money helps a person to keep living and begging on the street instead of accepting the help they really need to break the cycle they are in.
Through our work with the Homelessness Charter, giving points have been installed through the city where you can make a £3 donation that goes directly to the charities supporting these individuals.
You can also get involved with the partnership that developed the Leicester Homelessness Charter.