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When you don't have a home, cold weather can be very dangerous. It's harder to get and stay warm, particularly if the weather is wet or snowy. However, there are lots of small ways you can help people experiencing homelessness during the winter months.

How to help

If you feel safe to do so, stop and say hello. The most helpful things you can do are:

  • Offer them hoot food and/or a hot drink – remember to ask if they have any dietary requirements or preferences
  • Offer them blankets and/or warm clothes
  • Offer them a rain-jacket or umbrella to help them keep dry
  • Help them get medical attention if they need it
  • Help them find emergency shelter

You can help them find shelter by making a StreetLink referral for them, or refer them to their local homeless service. You could also tell them about Glass Door; one of our caseworkers can offer advice and support at one of our partner day centres.

Tell them about Glass Door

In an emergency, call 999 for an ambulance.


Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature below 35C (normal body temperature is around 37C). It's a medical emergency that needs to be treated in hospital.

It can affect anyone but people who are sleeping rough are particularly at risk because it's harder to get and stay warm.

The symptoms are your body's way of warning you to warm up, fast.

The signs to watch for and quickly act on are:

  • shivering
  • pale, cold and dry skin – their skin and lips may be blue
  • slurred speech
  • slow breathing
  • tiredness or confusion

Older adults and young infants, as well as people with long-term health conditions, are particularly at risk.

The body's ability to regulate its temperature is not fully developed in the young and may be reduced by illness, medications or other factors in older adults.

What to do

If someone has hypothermia, call 999 for an ambulance or, if possible, help them get to A&E.

In the meantime, try to get them somewhere warm and dry and give them blankets and clothes.

Do not rub their arms, legs, feet or hands or give them alcohol or anything caffeinated to drink. Don’t try to give fluids to someone who is unconscious.

Source: NHS