A homeless person sleeping in north London today as snow started to fall [Picture: Wenn].

This could be important – life-saving – advice. Please share it as widely as possible while the cold continues.

Every time temperatures drop like this, rough sleepers risk their lives just trying to last the night, with the dangers only too real as the sad case of a man who froze to death in Birmingham before Christmas illustrates.

It’s natural to want to help if you see someone struggling – and they probably will appreciate the offer of a hot drink or some food. But what they really need is a place to get out of the rough weather – and you can provide this by alerting homelessness charity StreetLink to their location.

Emergency shelters have opened in London this week because of the cold, so the best thing you can do is make sure outreach volunteers know how to find anyone who may need them.

StreetLink operates across England and Wales, so you can get in touch with them about rough sleepers anywhere in these two countries.

In Scotland, local authorities are obliged to house homeless people that same day. Because of this, rough sleepers are dealt with on a town or city-by-city basis. Shelter has published a list of organisations you can contact for help depending on where in Scotland you are.

You can find them via their website here, download their app on your iPhone or Android. Making an online referral allows StreetLink to process it more efficiently and reach the homeless person more quickly. When you can’t report in-app or online, call their 24-hour hotline on 0300 500 0914.

Read more: What to do if you see a homeless person sleeping rough in the snow


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