DBS Checks for working with homeless people

Working with homeless people can mean working with some of the most vulnerable people in society. As such, you may expect that working with homeless people may require a DBS Check.

However due to DBS legislation, a homeless person may not necessarily fit within the DBS’s definition of a vulnerable adult – which can affect whether someone working with them is eligible for a DBS Check.

If you’re working with or employing staff to work with homeless people and are confused about this situation we’ve compiled this guide to demonstrate who is eligible for a DBS Check for working with homeless people – and what level of DBS Check they may require.

working with homeless people

DBS Checks for vulnerable adults


An employee is not necessarily eligible for a DBS Check if they work with adults. However, this may change if they work directly with vulnerable adults in a regulated activity.

If their job requires regulated activity with a vulnerable adult then they would be eligible for an enhanced DBS Check with a check against the adult’s barred list.


How do we define a ‘vulnerable adult’?


As per the DBS’s legislation, a vulnerable adult is classed as someone who is ‘vulnerable due to their age, illness or disability’.

Therefore, being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is vulnerable for the purpose of a DBS check. However they could be classed as vulnerable due to one of the other 3 reasons above.


What is regulated activity?


Regulated activity for vulnerable adults is unsupervised work that could involve the following:

  • Providing assistance for day-to-day activities due to an adult’s age, illness or disability
  • Providing personal, health or social care to an adult
  • Transporting an adult (because of their age, illness or disability) to or from a place where they will be receiving the relevant personal, health or social care

A more detailed definition of regulated activity for vulnerable adults can be found here.


How does this affect DBS checks for working with homeless people?


In order to obtain an Enhanced DBS check, the applicant would need to be engaging in regulated activity with vulnerable adults, such as providing hands on personal care or healthcare.

Working in a homeless hostel or night shelter doesn’t automatically make an employee eligible for a DBS Check. Whether they are eligible for a check or not is dependent on whether they’re performing regulated activity.




While it may seem that an employee will definitely be eligible for a DBS Check if they are working with homeless people, this is not necessarily the case for a number of reasons.

The definition of whether a homeless person is considered a ‘vulnerable adult’, if an employee is engaged in regulated activity and where the work is taking place can affect whether an employee is eligible for an enhanced DBS Check.
We hope our blog has answered your questions. If you’d like any more information, check out the DBS’ guidance for employers, or drop us a line – we’re always happy to help.