Get practical help if you're on the streets
You can get help with everyday needs other than housing while you're homeless and sleeping on the street. This includes food, access to benefits and healthcare.
Free food if you’re sleeping on the streets
You can get free food at day centres, soup kitchens and food banks.
Find your nearest:
Free showers, laundry and advice
You may be able to have a shower, do your laundry and charge your phone at a homeless day centre.
A GP can't refuse to register you just because you're homeless or you don't have proof of address or ID.
Find a GP on the NHS website or by calling 111
If you're asked for an address on the registration form, you can use the address of a:
friend or family member
If you're refused registration, ask the receptionist to write down the reasons for this. Show this NHS leaflet which explains your rights to register with a GP.
You can also get healthcare from:
specialist medical centres
There are specialist medical centres for people sleeping in hostels or on the streets. Some centres also help with mental health, alcohol and drug problems.
You must register to vote before you can vote in an election. You need proof of your identity to register. This can be your:
National Insurance number
If you haven't got a fixed address you can vote as long as you've registered.
You can use the address where you spend the most time, including:
a friend's house
a day centre
If you don't have an address you can use, contact your local Electoral Registration Office.
If you have a dog
Pet fostering services
Various charities provide pet fostering services.
Search for foster care for your pet via the Dogs Trust if you're offered accommodation that doesn't accept pets.
Where you can store your things
If you need somewhere to store your furniture, clothes and other belongings, you can:
ask family or friends to store things
ask the council to help when you apply as homeless
find and pay for a storage unit near you
The council may have to offer you emergency or temporary housing if you make a homeless application.
If the council provides accommodation it should also take steps to protect your belongings if:
you can't arrange storage yourself (for example, you can't afford it)
your belongings could get damaged or lost
The council will usually charge you for storage.
The council won't have to help with storage unless it has to provide you with accommodation but you can still ask for a list of local storage facilities.
You usually have to pay the council for removals and storage. Costs vary – check with your council's homeless department how much it charges.
The council might agree to you paying in instalments if you're on a low income or claim benefits.
You may be able to get help with storage costs though a local welfare assistance scheme. Find your council and ask if they run a scheme.
Moving your belongings from council storage
The council may ask you to collect your things from their storage if:
your property is no longer at risk of damage or loss
you leave temporary housing
you get longer-term housing
the council decides you no longer qualify for help
you don't pay the charges
If you don't collect your things within a certain time, the council can dispose of them.
If you're sleeping on the streets
If you're sleeping on the streets, you might be able to store your belongings at a day centre.
Last updated: 8 November 2019