Help and support for rough sleepers
We have a rough sleeping team that goes into the city every day to find and offer support 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.
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 hostel for families called Border House, and a 42-bed centre offering temporary accommodation and support for singles and couples called the Dawn Centre.
There is a small number of people we aren’t allowed to help: these include, for example, people who travel to Leicester from other countries but are not seeking work. However, if we can’t help people we don’t walk away from them – we work with many charities and other organisations that can.
We work with a range of partners across the city that provide temporary accommodation and support for people who are homeless. You can find more information on these partners below.
Action Homeless provides a range of support including emergency accommodation for single people, and women and children in crisis, as well as longer-term housing for people who need support to manage their homes.
We also work closely with the Y (YMCA) which provides a range of services including a safe place to stay for young homeless people, as well as the support they need to move towards independent living, education and employment.
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.
We have a wide range of services to help people with these problems, including our new 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.
How you can help rough sleepers and beggars
Most of the people who beg in the city are known to the council and to 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 Leicestershire 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, we send a member of our outreach team 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.
We know that on average, rough sleepers die at the age of 47.
If you would like to help in another way you can donate to one of the many charities in the city who are helping homeless people, rough sleepers and others in need, every day. This way you know that your money will really help those who need it.
You could also get involved with the partnership that developed the Leicester Homelessness Charter. You can find out more on the link below: