Surviving the streets

"Do you mind? You're in the way of us spending our £200 pensioner's winter fuel allowance!"


November 18th 2017

You should not have to be on the streets this winter. Housing is a fundamental human right, but we also know that the system lets people down. So we asked our readers and volunteers – all of whom have spent time on the streets – for their thoughts on how to get by:



Stay dry and warm

Get a decent sleeping bag Get a tent, if possible, or learn how to build a shelter Put a layer of cardboard under your sleeping bag to avoid the cold ground Try find a warm coat and wear layers to keep the cold out Try to find spare socks and waterproof boots or rubbish bags to make your shoes waterproof Libraries, day centres and transport hubs are good places to get some warmth


Stay safe

Find a safe and friendly place to leave your important stuff Don’t carry knives or other weapons – you may get arrested Be careful what you carry with you in case you are searched Make sure you are not trapped in your sleeping bag. Keep it slightly unzipped at the top so you can make a quick getaway if needed Be careful if taking heavy-duty sleeping pills – make sure you are nice and warm before nodding off



Watch where you camp... steer clear of pigeon and rat droppings Go to cafes and ask if the have spare food for you. If you are polite, people will help you Find places where you can wash – staying clean makes you healthier Be aware that some people will exploit you when you're down. But don't always be suspicious if someone offers you a place to stay – there are good people out there


Christmas Noticeboard

Crisis at Christmas – London Open from 23 December (11am–9pm) and 24–29 December (9am–9pm)
Outreach Rough Sleepers (West London): Open from 22 December at 9pm
Residential Centres (North & South London): Open from 23 December at 9am (The Link opens at noon)
Glasgow City Mission Glasgow Winter Night Shelter: Open from 10pm, 1 December until 31 March.
Breakfast supplied in morning Christmas Meal: Evening of Wednesday, 20 December
Christmas Activities: 11–23rd December. Various activities – pop down and see what’s happening!
Now open Saturdays 4pm–8pm
Bethany Christian Trust Care Shelter - Edinburgh Beds Available from 9.30pm, October 2017 until April 2018
Venue changes every few evenings – keep up to date at:
Daily transport from Waterloo Place @ 9.15pm and 9.30pm unless shelter is full. Call 07919 557 676 to check availability.
Evening meals @ 9:30pm–10.30pm & Breakfast at 6.30am


FURTHER Information

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Mar/Apr 2018


London edition (PDF 712KB)


Scottish edition (PDF 589KB)