Rough sleeping has risen by 50% over the past two years, and leading charities have warned the crisis is set to get worse.
With thousands of people expected to spend this Christmas on the streets, it can be easy to despair at the increasingly common sight of sleeping bags outside shops, stations and office doorways.
But there are things you can do to help.
A new website and app has been launched to harness the goodwill of the British public, allowing passers-by to connect homeless people with local outreach teams ready to offer support.
StreetLink has redeveloped its technology to make it quicker and easier than ever to alert local services to someone found sleeping rough across England and Wales.
Users of the new app will be able drop a pin in a map to show the exact location of the person they have seen. The selected address will appear and they will be asked to add a short description of the location, helping make sure outreach workers can find the person.
Anyone using the app will be able to search a list of nearby day services they can refer people to straight away. You can also check the status and outcome of your alerts.
Together we can help support vulnerable people to get their lives back on track
“Sadly, the number of people sleeping on our streets has gone up every year since 2010,” Matt Harrison, director of StreetLink, explained.
“We launched StreetLink to harness the goodwill of the public, and since then it has had great success in linking thousands of people to vital local services, showing it to be an invaluable tool for helping to tackle rough sleeping.”
StreetLink is a non-profit organisation run by Homeless Link, the national membership charity for homelessness agencies, in partnership with the St Mungo’s charity.
“We’re asking people to download the app onto their phones, send an alert when they are concerned about someone sleeping rough and tell their friends and colleagues about StreetLink,” said Harrison.
“Together we can help support vulnerable people to get their lives back on track.”
Find out more about the updated service at Streetlink. The mobile app for iOS is ‘StreetLink’ on Apple iTunes, and the mobile app for Android is ‘StreetLink’ on Google Play Store.