A Guide to Homelessness

Helping someone on the streets

The most obvious and apparent consequence of becoming homeless is when you see someone sleeping rough.

Helping someone sleeping rough

If you see someone who is sleeping rough and you think that they are in need of help, you should contact your local council, use our tool to find the contact details of your local council.

The Simon Community have a 24 hour helpline. In Glasgow call 0800 027 7466 in Edinburgh 0800 178 2323 and they will send someone to go and meet the person.

During office hours 9-5, you can also call Shelter Scotland’s free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Speaking to someone who is sleeping on the streets

Sleeping rough can be a lonely experience. Many people will walk past or ignore someone who is sleeping on the streets. Just a quick chat and a hello can make a difference to a person who is sleeping rough.

What about begging?

It is a personal choice if you want to give money to someone who is begging, but bear in mind that not all people who beg are homeless and not all homeless people beg.

Donate to Shelter Scotland

Help us continue to do our work by donating to Shelter Scotland.

Last updated: 4 October 2020

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England

Get homeless help from the council

The council must help if you are homeless or likely to become homeless in the next two months.

Get emergency help from the council