One Londoner is forced to sleep rough on our city’s cold streets every 90 minutes. And it’s a dangerous place to be, especially in winter. It can harm your physical and mental health, you’re at risk of theft and violence, and plummeting temperatures can lead to hypothermia.

So what can you do to help? Here are ten ways you can make a difference:

1. Send a StreetLink Alert
Streetlink is a tool that enables you to help people sleeping on the street by connecting them with local outreach services.

All you have to do is provide a few details, including the location of someone sleeping rough. Outreach workers will then try to make contact and provide expert support. 

You can do this via the StreetLink app, call 0300 500 0914, or visit its website. 

 However, you do not contact Streetlink if

  • you think the person you are concerned about is under 18. Please call the police instead.
  • the person needs immediate medical attention or is in danger, then call 111 or 999. 

2. Say Hello
Being on the street can be a lonely place. Everyone knows Londoners are busy people, rushing from one thing to the next. But if you’ve got the time, stopping to say hello or a quick chat can lift someone’s spirits, make a massive difference to someone’s day and restore their faith in humanity.

3. Caffe sospeso / suspended coffee
The tradition of Caffe sospeso began in Naples, Italy. If you had experienced good luck, you could order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving only one. Later that day, someone who needed it could ask if there were any sospeso available and receive a free coffee.

In the UK, this is called pay it forward. Ask a local café if they will let you do this for someone!

4. Give a gift
A personalised gift with a heartfelt message can significantly impact the people we work with, especially at Christmas. You can purchase everything from a personalised gift to a Christmas dinner for one of the thousands of Londoners we support through our online store. We’ll take care of the rest, ensuring your donation goes straight to our clients across London.  

5. Donate your coat
The incredible WrapUp London operates pop up collection points across the city where you can donate your coat every November. A coat doesn’t just provide warmth. It is often a gateway for someone to access services to help them get back on their feet. Find your nearest collection point here.

You can also donate winter clothing to other organisations or directly to a Londoner on the streets if you speak to them about it first.

6. Pop to the shop
If you’re popping into your local shop for some supplies, you could ask someone if there’s anything they need. It could be a drink, a snack, pet food or even some toiletries. Remember to ask first if they have a preference. Like anyone else, they might have dietary requirements or just really desire a particular biscuit!

7. Giving money
It’s a very personal decision to give to someone asking for money. We all know that London is an expensive place to live, and there are all sorts of reasons why someone experiencing homelessness might need money. If someone is reduced to asking the public for money on the street or tube, you can be pretty sure that they’re in a difficult situation. You could give to them directly or donate to a charity (see our following way to help).

8. Donate Money
Every year, Single Homeless Project helps Londoners experiencing homelessness get the support they deserve and a place to call home. For good. With your help, we will end homelessness for Londoners this Winter. Everything helps, and you can donate at www.shp.org.uk/donate

9. Buy an invisible coffee
We recently partnered with award-winning creative agency CPB London to create Invisible Coffee – a coffee company with a twist. Choose between a flat white, americano or espresso, pay £3 and receive a steaming, delicious…. invisible coffee. Every penny made will support our work with Londoners experiencing homelessness. Find out more here: www.invisiblecoffee.co.uk 

10. Volunteer your time

If you’re short of cash, you can still make a difference by donating your time and skills. People volunteer with us for many different reasons. Perhaps you have some free time and want to make a difference in your local community? Maybe you’re looking to gain new skills or share your expertise? Perhaps you would like to meet like-minded people? 

See our Christmas volunteer roles -> www.shp.org.uk/volunteer