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Getting help if you're sleeping rough

If you’re sleeping rough there are organisations that will help you.

The council has to help you, and other organisations such as charities provide support too.

The council must help if you’re homeless

If you’re living on the streets you can ask the council to help you. They must:

You can call the council 24 hours a day.

Find your local council's contact details

If you're not a British or Irish citizen

Your right to homeless help depends on your immigration status.

Get advice if you have nowhere to live and the council will not help. You can:

Finding a shelter

If the council will not help you, or you do not want to make a homeless application, other organisations can help.

Find contact information and locations of local shelters and day centres by:

Check organisations that can help when you’re homeless

Night shelters

If you need a place to stay, some areas of Scotland have emergency night shelters.

This sort of accommodation varies. You might have your own room, or you might be in a shared room or dormitory.

Some shelters have strict rules. You might have to leave during the day and be in by a certain time each night. Most shelters provide:

  • meals or cooking facilities

  • a laundry room

  • washing facilities

Some shelters are direct access, meaning you can go there and see if they have a space available that day.

For others you may need a referral from a homeless support agency. Check with local shelters to find out what they need.

Night shelters are usually free of charge.

Winter night shelters

There may be temporary cold weather shelters available during the winter.

Winter night shelters are usually free of charge and provide a bed and food. Most winter shelters are only open in the evenings and overnight.

Day centres

Some towns and cities have day centres where you can get a meal, use showers, and get a change of clothes. A day centre might offer to store your belongings for you. 

Some centres have staff to help people with mental health problems and drink and drug dependencies.

For other services, check our advice on accessing services while homeless.

Getting help if you're homeless with pets

If you're sleeping rough and you have pets you can contact the Pet Fostering Service Scotland. They provide short term care for pets if you're unable to look after them.

Last updated: 27 March 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England