Practical help if you're homeless and on the streets
Most homeless day centres offer somewhere warm for a hot drink or a chat.
They are usually run by charities and may have paid staff and volunteers.
Practical help from day centres
This could include:
free or cheap food
showers and laundry
safe storage for your bags
somewhere to charge your phone
clean clothes, toiletries or sleeping bags
Other services from day centres
Some homeless day centres have a range of other services, for example:
benefits or immigration advice
support with your health or finding work
educational, therapeutic or social activities
hostel, night shelter or outreach team referrals
How to register with a doctor (GP)
You need to register with a GP surgery so you can see a doctor when you are sick.
It helps if you have at least 1 of the following:
CHAIN number (if you're sleeping rough)
letter from a hostel or homeless day centre
You can be refused if the surgery or medical centre is full and not taking on new patients.
You should not be refused just because you do not have ID or proof of address, or because of your immigration status.
Ask the receptionist to write down the reasons if you are told you cannot register with a GP. You may be able to complain.
The NHS has more information on your rights to register with a GP.
Specialist medical centres
Some doctors offer specialist services for people who are homeless, including people with mental health, alcohol or drug problems.
Ask day centres and hostels about specialist medical centres in the area.
How to claim benefits
You can usually claim benefits if you're on the streets, sofa surfing or staying in a hostel.
Find out more about claiming benefits if you're homeless.
How to open a bank account
Most people who are homeless should be able to get a basic bank account.
Read our guide on how to open a bank account if you're homeless.
How to register to vote
Before you can vote in person in an election you must:
Register to vote
Show photo ID when you go to vote
Voter registration is sometimes called 'being on the electoral register'.
You can use a passport, driving licence, PASS card and some travel cards.
You can use these documents even if they are out of date if the photo still looks like you.
If you do not have a fixed address
You can use a special form to register if you do not have a fixed address.
Your local electoral registration team process the form and could help you fill it in.
If you do not have photo ID
You can apply for a voter authority certificate.
It's free and the council can take a photo of you.
Who can register to vote?
You can register to vote if you are a British, Irish or EU citizen living in the UK. Some Commonwealth citizens can also register.
You must be at least:
16 to register
18 to vote
Find out more about which elections you can vote in on GOV.UK
Last updated: 27 February 2023