How we’re helping people off the streets in City of London
Support worker, Liam, talks about the great impact the new City of London outreach team are making in the square mile.
During winter, freezing cold temperatures make sleeping rough even more life-threatening. Whilst street homelessness is always dangerous and traumatic, there are extra statutory provisions called SWEP (Severe Weather Protocol), implemented when the ground temperature drops to zero degrees. This increases the temporary accommodation options that are available for our outreach teams to move people away from the streets, and prevent the dangers of sleeping outside in freezing temperatures. However, this will not solve the wider and ongoing causes of street homelessness. Tailored support is still required to understand, and address, the causes of an individual’s homelessness.
Liam is a support worker in our City Outreach team. He shares his experiences of helping people in the square mile once temperatures drop to dangerous levels:
“Thames Reach have been running the City Outreach service for just over a year, so we’re quite a new team but it’s really encouraging that we can help people off the streets in the City. We have outreach shifts every day, and as a team we work with new referrals ourselves, helping people get into emergency accommodation or the City assessment centre.
“With the temperature dropping significantly in recent days and weeks, and the Severe Weather Protocol (SWEP) being activated, we have been having a big push to get as many people off the streets as possible, so there’s a big positive movement in that sense. It’s good to see a lot of the people who have been entrenched on the streets for a long time being offered accommodation and support, so we’re really proud of that.
“We use the Hard to Reach Fund every day in our team; we have money to help people in the process of moving on with their lives. The most common thing we spend money on is phones so we can stay in touch with people. If someone is staying in a hostel, it’s easy to contact them but if they are on the streets it is much harder. We also provide food and shopping vouchers for people moving into accommodation; we don’t just drop them off, we make sure they are supported.
“Although we’re a new team, working with the City of London has been brilliant, we’ve been able to get people into hotels instantly with SWEP, which is great on many levels. Most of our work with people is done on the streets, which isn’t ideal; it’s so much easier to have a real conversation with someone and work on their recovery when they’re somewhere comfortable and can have a cup of tea. When we are getting people into temporary accommodation for the time being, we are able to assign them a support worker who can check in on them regularly and help them work out their next steps.”
Your donations can help us support people to come off the streets for good, and make the recovery journey tailored to the individual.