How does the new South East London outreach team work?

Ryan, lead worker in our new South East Regional Outreach team, discusses the work being done to end street homelessness across the South East of the city

How does the new South East London outreach team work?

Thames Reach are the providers of the new South East London Regional Outreach team, which covers four boroughs within the South East of the city to help people off the streets and identify the support they need to move on from street homelessness. The team’s lead worker, Ryan, tells us about the work he does.

“The South East Regional Outreach Team (SEROT) is a new service that was put into place after London Street Rescue ended. This was the result of the decision for outreach services to be commissioned by local authorities. SEROT operates in four boroughs: Greenwich, Bromley, Lewisham, and Bexley. We get our referrals from colleagues in the Rapid Response Team (RRT), who respond to referrals made via Streetlink.

“No two days are ever the same, but an average day for me is an early start, checking for any referrals that were made overnight by the RRT and beginning welfare checks on anyone that is out rough sleeping, and working with them to resolve their homelessness. Working with people we have already made contact with, who are now in temporary accommodation, is a big part of what we do, as we discuss and plan their next steps with them. The rest of my work time is spent on casework and other admin related to the people I’m working with.

“In my borough, the people we work with are mostly white British males with substance support needs. This isn’t the case across South East London, as other boroughs work with a high number of people from other areas, with limited recourse to benefits. We fortunately have a strong working relationship with local drug and alcohol services, who will join an outreach shift when I am working with someone that would benefit from a visit.

“In South East London, I think we have all noticed a rise in the number of people rough sleeping for the first time, and I’m sure this goes for the rest of the country. The challenge is finding affordable, sustainable, decent living in London where most parts of the city are unaffordable.

“It has definitely been positive to work alongside colleagues that I worked with in London Street Rescue. This has meant that people who have been receiving support with us for a sustained period have not been affected by the changes.”