Thames Reach’s focus for 2019

As this year comes to an end, Thames Reach’s Chief Executive, Bill Tidnam, talks about the charity’s focus for the year ahead.

Thames Reach’s focus for 2019

Thames Reach Chief Executive, Bill Tidnam, talks about the charity’s focus for 2019.

“I’m proud of the work we do to prevent and reduce rough sleeping in London. Not just getting people off the streets, but helping people rebuild their lives after, as well as intervening to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.

“For us, as a homelessness charity, it’s important to tell it as it is – to make use of our experience, and the experience of the people we work with, to explain what we do to end rough sleeping and why we do it.

“The number of people sleeping rough has increased in recent years, and we’re now seeing a co-ordinated response from central government which is focused on reducing and eventually ending rough sleeping. While we may quibble over the levels of investment, and the previous reductions in funding for local authorities, we welcome this change, and think it has the potential to make a real difference.

“Homelessness is a complex problem which affects thousands of people, and it’s important to recognise that the solutions aren’t simple.

“Over the next year we’re keen to focus on three issues we know have a particular impact on rough sleepers and rough sleeping in London.

“1. Poor health can be a cause and a result of street homelessness, and we know that people who are homeless don’t always get the help they need from the NHS. Therefore we’re keen to build on the excellent work that we already do with the NHS to make sure that homeless people can access and get the support they need to improve their health.

“2. We also want to talk about the benefits system, and about the consequences of changes to the system and the way in it is administered, which can mean that people can become homeless and then stay homeless for longer.

“We’d like to work with the Department for Work and Pension to find solutions for the people we are supporting, using our experience and knowledge on the ground.

“3. Finally, we want to think about what we can do to help rough sleepers from the European Union to get off the streets. Around 28% of people rough sleeping in London are from other countries in the EU and don’t have any entitlement to government help. We have become increasingly concerned about some people in this group and their wellbeing, and feel we need more discussions about how best to respond to this issue.

“Over the coming year, we will be sharing stories and experiences regarding these issues to inspire more people to support and understand the work we do, and to assist in our vision of ending street homelessness, helping people to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives.”