All services

Responding to rough sleeping

Our Rapid Response Team works across 24 London boroughs to provide fast, emergency support for people who find themselves newly on the street

A total of 3,307 people slept rough in London between October and December 2020, according to figures compiled by the Greater London Authority (GLA). Despite the success of the Everyone In programme in response to the coronavirus pandemic, this remains a terrible situation. To address this, and to help people off the streets as quickly as possible, Thames Reach outreach teams work 365 days a year to reach those who find themselves on the streets and get them into accommodation as quickly as possible.

Commissioned by the GLA, our Rapid Response Team work across 24 London boroughs every night, responding to referrals from Streetlink — through which members of the public report the location of someone sleeping rough — and then finding these people and referring those who are new to the street to No Second Night Out centres, from which they can move on into accommodation.

Almost half of those who slept rough in the last three months of 2020 had never been on the street before, and the number of new people on the streets each year is a huge problem. However, through the hard work and dedication of our Rapid Response Team, 74% of these people spent only a single night sleeping rough before being helped indoors.

Rough sleeping is incredibly damaging to people’s physical and mental health, and, whilst preventing people from ending up on the streets in the first place is the key to eradicating street homelessness, reaching those who do end up sleeping rough as quickly as possible is essential to protecting their long term wellbeing.

The video above highlights the key work being done by our Rapid Response Team, and you can also read about the daily working lives of our Rapid Response Team staff here.

Please support our work in reaching those newly on the streets, by donating to us today.

Our Rapid Response Team also relies on volunteer support. If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer, please visit the volunteer page.

Referrals from the public are a vital component of our service to reach people new to the streets as quickly as possible. If you see someone sleeping rough, please tell Streetlink.