What to do if you see someone sleeping rough

What to do if you see someone sleeping rough

Newcastle City Council is committed to ending rough sleeping in the city and ensuring that there is a proactive approach to supporting those who sleep rough off the street. Our aim is to ensure that no one in Newcastle needs to be homeless and that the prevention of homelessness is “everyone’s business”. However, rough sleeping is a complex issue and in Newcastle people do not usually sleep rough just because of a lack of accommodation, the Council funds, a daily outreach service and 815 rooms for people at risk of homelessness. For many people  sleeping rough it is often linked to, underlying health and welfare issues. We recognise that on a relatively small number of occasions some people will sleep rough. Our Street Zero partnership of public, private, voluntary agencies and faith groups is working together to end rough sleeping for everyone by 2022.

If you see someone sleeping rough you can let us know either by email on roughsleeping@newcastle.gov.uk  or you can call our Rough Sleeping Helpline on 0191 278 3899 and we will take action to offer help and assistance.  

Your information will be passed onto the street outreach team who will try to make contact with people who are reported as sleeping rough as soon as possible to help them off the street.  When calling please provide as much detail as possible about where you saw the person and when. However this public reporting line is not an emergency response service and if you have concerns about a person’s immediate health or welfare then you should contact the emergency services.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 update (24 March 2020)

Newcastle City Council has taken a public health focused approach to the coronavirus pandemic and are working to offer everyone at risk of homelessness a safe place to stay, this includes people with no recourse to public funds who normally would not be eligible for help.

The Council funded daily rough sleeping outreach team and drop-in, have continued to operate during the coronavirus pandemic and have been supported by the Police who liaise with the council’s Rough Sleeping Coordinator whenever they find someone sleeping rough. The outreach team encourage everyone they find to take up offers of accommodation or reconnection to their area of origin. People that sleep rough who go to the drop-in are supported to get accommodation and get food, a hot drink and a shower. The outreach team also engage with people who are begging in the city and seek to find out if they need accommodation or support from other services.

None of the rooms the Council commissions to respond to homelessness ask for or require rent or other charges to be paid in advance and rent and property related service charges are eligible for Housing Benefit. Hostels do charge residents for personal costs eg for food and utility costs that are not covered by Housing Benefit. People aren’t asked for this money in advance and all the hostels are flexible and will work out a budgeting plan which enables people to pay.

Cold weather 

During the winter months we make an additional plan to mitigate the effects of the cold weather on people who are sleeping rough. Our Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for Rough Sleeping explains how we will seek to accommodate and assist those sleeping rough in the extreme cold.  You can read the document by clicking here (pdf, 164kb) 

If you believe that you might be homeless or have to sleep rough

If you are in Newcastle and are worried that you have nowhere safe to stay you should contact the Housing Advice Centre or Emergency Homeless Officer as soon as possible, see below for contact arrangements. The Housing Advice Centre will assess your situation and give you free confidential advice with the aim of preventing or relieving your homelessness.

Change to the Housing Advice Centre’s working arrangements

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic  the Housing Advice Centre building will not be open for face-to-face advice until further notice. This will help us all to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Please don’t attend the Housing Advice Centre in person as the building will be closed. Instead, please phone  0800 1707 008 or email housingadvicecentre@newcastle.gov.uk  (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 12 noon and 1pm to 4.30pm)

We appreciate that this is a difficult time and that you will be concerned. Please be reassured that we will do our best to respond to your query as soon as we can. However, please bear with us at this time while we are experiencing additional pressures and there is some disruption to our service.

Outside of these times an Emergency Homelessness Officer (EHO) provides a telephone response to people who become homeless in an emergency. In most cases, they will need to speak directly to the person to discuss the options available. The EHO may not always be able to provide accommodation for everyone, but they will assess the circumstances of everyone who contacts them in order see what options they can provide.

Telephone: 0800 1707 008 (press option 2 for the Operator and ask for the Emergency Homeless Officer)
Monday to Friday, 5.30pm to 8am
Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 8am (24 hours)

Did you know?

Remember if you want to let us know about someone sleeping rough you can contact us at  roughsleeping@newcastle.gov.uk  or 0191 278 3899

If you believe that you might be homeless or have to sleep rough please see our Help if you are homeless tonight page


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