Share this article:

What is rough sleeping?

Rough sleeping is the most visible and extreme form of homelessness, where people literally risk their lives by sleeping in the open air, or in places that are not designed to be lived in.

We find people sleeping rough ever day in a range of locations – from doorways and alleyways to abandoned buildings and woodland encampments.

Why do people sleep rough?

Most people end up sleeping rough not just because they are homeless, but because they are struggling with multiple problems– from mental ill-health to substance abuse.

Those complex problems mean they fall through established safety nets and alienate the friends and family they may otherwise have depended on for support. People who sleep rough, then, are often at absolute rock-bottom.

Thankfully most homeless people will never know the physical and emotional trauma of sleeping rough, but for those who do it can be a difficult experience to overcome. 

How do we help rough sleepers?

Our ultimate goal is to get people off the street and of danger, but that is often easier said than done. Whilst we don’t believe anyone really wants to sleep rough, some people can become deeply entrenched in that way of life.

They make friends and form relationships. In many cases they lose hope that their situation can or will change for the better. A small minority may have accommodation options elsewhere but are actively choosing to risk their lives by sleeping rough. 

We are acutely aware that to some people on the streets we are just another support agency who will ultimately let them down. So much of our initial work with is about establishing a rapport and building  trust with them – assuring them that we can help them and that we will not give up on them.

From there we work to understand why they are on the streets and establish what barriers they have to accessing accommodation. Once we’ve done that work to remove or reduce those barriers one-by-one we and support that person into appropriate supported accommodation – the first step on a longer journey to independence.

How can you help?

If you see somebody sleeping rough you can tell us about it by making a report here. We will pick up and respond to these reports in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

You can also raise money to support our work.