Helping someone experiencing homelessness

Help Someone

Does someone you know need support and a safe place to sleep? Get advice and information here.

Being homeless doesn’t always mean someone is living on the streets

In Scotland, being homeless could mean someone may well have a place to stay but it is not appropriate, safe or theirs. This can include:

  • Staying with friends (sometimes called ‘sofa surfing’)
  • Living in hostels or a bed and breakfast
  • Sleeping rough
  • Being unsafe and at risk of violence where they live
  • Living in overcrowded accommodation or where the conditions may badly affect health
  • Having a disability or illness and living where the accommodation is unsuitable.

Get informed, challenge myths and help make links

People who are homeless (or at risk of homelessness) often experience stigma, exclusion and low expectations. We want people to be treated with dignity, have self-worth and have the confidence to recover.

Read more about what happens when people get in touch with us for support, and the advice we offer people on line. You can also read this brief summary of the kind of support we offer.

Helping someone experiencing homelessness

I’ve seen someone sleeping rough. What can I do?

Learn more about Rough Sleeping in on this FAQ

In Glasgow you can contact our Rough Sleepers and Vulnerable Peoples (RSVP) service on 0800 0277466 to discuss your concern. Our staff will go out and meet with the person to offer support. Our team cover the whole of Glasgow and even if the person you’re concerned about is outside Glasgow we’ll find the right support in their area.

In Edinburgh you can contact our Streetwork Street Team on 0808 178 2323 or visit our Streetwork website for more information.

You can help by telling us; if they are male or female, where you saw them, a description of what they were wearing, if they were on their own or with others and if they were young or old. Visit our Get Support page for more information about our helpline.

Is it okay to talk to someone homeless or begging?

Yes – definitely! Living on the street is a lonely, scary and challenging place. A friendly word and even just showing you care can make a huge difference to people who are vulnerable. Many people ignore or simply walk past someone who is homeless. They become and feel invisible. So yes, say hello and share a smile.

Should I give money to homeless people begging on the street?

Not all homeless people beg and not all beggars are homeless. Giving money to people begging is a personal choice and in many cases the people who are begging are very vulnerable. If you want to give money to make a positive difference to someone who is homeless you can donate to us on this website or to other local charities working with vulnerable people. If you go to our Donations page you can see how your donation will be used.

Help us make a difference

We are always looking for ways to give more and make life a little better for the people we work with.  You can help by giving your time, skills and/or money. Visit our Support us section for more information on all the ways you can help!