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Sleeping rough

If you are sleeping rough you should firstly come into the Civic Offices so we can advise you. More information about what will happen next can be found here. If we are not able to offer you emergency accommodation, there are other things you can do to try and find somewhere to stay:


Hostels - we can give you a list of hostels that may be able to accommodate you. Each hostel has its own criteria which is detailed on the list. Please check the criteria before calling.


SPEAR - a charity that helps rough sleepers to access accommodation and other practical help. You can come to see someone at their drop in service on Thursday 13th June from 12-2pm and then every Wednesday after that from 2-4pm at the Civic Offices.


StreetLink - If you are unable to find a bed for the night, please contact StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or via so StreetLink can alert local outreach services. You will need to let them know exactly where you are going to be sleeping so they can come and find you to offer assistance. Whilst every effort will be made to find you somewhere to stay, it is not always guaranteed. 


Nightstop - A charity that matches up homeless 16-25 year olds with volunteers willing to offer them a bed for the night in their homes. For more information and to refer yourself please visit


Emmaus Lambeth - this project offers accommodation and a small wage to homeless people willing to volunteer for the charity on a full time basis. For more information and to refer yourself please visit


Day centres - we can give you a list of day centres, which are places where rough sleepers can go to get a shower, a hot meal, a change of clothes, company and advice.


Severe Weather Emergency Provisions (SWEP) - When the temperature is predicted to be freezing or below at night, the Council will place genuinely homeless people in emergency accommodation for the night, regardless of priority need or immigration status. You can find out whether SWEP has been activated by asking at reception in the Civic Offices or by calling 0208 770 5000.


Keeping Safe on the Streets  


When you have no other option but to sleep rough, it is important that you take all steps possible to keep yourself safe, especially in the winter months.


  • Try not to sleep alone. There is safety in numbers so try to sleep where there are other people.


  • Sleeping in a very visible area may be dangerous, and women may be in more danger in a place where they don’t know anyone.


  • Never sleep directly on the ground. Find a bench or some cardboard to sleep on if you can, or some blankets or a sleeping bag.


  • Wrap up in sleeping bags or blankets.


  • Eat or drink something hot before you go to sleep.


  • Keep your hands, feet and head well covered.


  • Alcohol causes dehydration, lowers body temperature and can cause hypothermia which can be fatal. Don’t drink alcohol before going to sleep.


  • Unfortunately, rough sleepers are often vulnerable to crime - if you the victim of a robbery, assault or any other type of crime always report it to the police by calling 999 in an emergency, or 101 in a non-emergency.


  • Register with a doctor. Although people sleeping on the streets have a right to register with a doctor, it can be difficult to get medical treatment. You may be offered temporary registration for three months. However, this will not enable you to get a medical card - you will only get this if a doctor accepts you as a permanent patient. You do not need an address to register: you can use a 'care of' address, such as a friend or a day centre. If one doctor's practice or medical centre won't let you register, don't give up; try somewhere else. To find your nearest GP surgeries, search 'Your local services' on the NHS Choices website or call NHS Direct on 111 (Freephone).