Rough sleeping

Concerned about someone?

Report it

If you see someone sleeping rough in the borough, you can call the Street Population Outreach Team on 020 7341 5210 or 020 7361 3008, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and via email

You can also report a rough sleeper via the national website Streetlink or by calling 0300 500 0914. This is also available as an app.

Rough sleeping is sometimes seen as part of life in a big city. However, the reality and effects of rough sleeping are clear – it can be harmful for those living on the streets and have a negative impact on their neighbourhoods. The average life expectancy of someone sleeping rough is currently only 47 years.

There are many reasons why someone may be sleeping rough. These include mental health issues, drug or alcohol misuse and economic difficulties. A disproportionate number of people sleeping rough have also been in care or in prison.

The Council’s Street Population Outreach Team works in partnership with the local police, voluntary organisations and housing providers to address this problem. We actively go out and make contact with rough sleepers and help them to receive support including accommodation, health services, employment or training.

We do however take a firm stance with those who are causing a nuisance within the community, for example where there is noise, littering, fouling or antisocial behaviour such as street drinking and aggressive begging.

Local day centres and services for rough sleepers

Not all beggars are homeless. The experience of the Council’s Street Population Outreach Team is that the majority of people begging in the borough have accommodation and many use the money they make from begging to fund alcohol and drug habits

The Council asks residents and visitors to consider the consequences of giving money to beggars. If you would like to help we would encourage you to donate to organisations that work with vulnerable and homeless adults in the borough.

Antisocial behaviour and drinking in the street

If you are concerned about rough sleepers who are causing harassment, for example by persistent or aggressive begging you should report it to the Council's Street Population Outreach Team on 020 7341 5210 or email

We take the issue of antisocial behaviour very seriously and work with the police and the Council’s enforcement departments.

We will issue persistent or aggressive beggars with a warning letter, followed by a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO). Breaching the conditions of a CBO may result in a prison sentence. You can also report it to your Safer Neighbourhoods Police Team.