When the temperatures plummet in the winter, sleeping rough becomes more than a daily grind for survival – it becomes a matter of life and death.
If you spot someone living on the streets as the cold sets in this winter, there are few things you can do to ensure that they do not become another statistic joining the 449 people who died homeless last year, many while living on the streets.
In England and Wales, StreetLink has fast become the best way to connect rough sleepers with outreach services to get them the help they need with partners Homeless Link and St Mungo’s.
It’s simple: download the app or use their website or phone line and send details of where and when you see them as well as a brief description of the person.
StreetLink has proved popular in times of extreme cold, when the ‘Beast for the East’ brought Britain to a snowy standstill in March the service received a record 3,600 messages in just 24 hours.
But it’s important to know that it is not a magic bullet to stop rough sleeping – Crisis found that just five per cent of referrals – or 4,367 cases – since 2012 have led to a person being housed either permanently or temporarily.