We work with a group of people who are very difficult to engage, and with very complex needs.
Estimates suggest that 55% of the people we work with experience mental health issues, 37% alcohol problems and 39% drug problems. Many of these people are also completely disengaged from homelessness services – even outreach – and are very entrenched.
Our extensive experience of working with homeless people has taught us that it is often time-consuming and painstaking work to build up the rapport and trust we need to be able to identify the issues clients would like support with and to help them to access specialist services and accommodation.
The team’s approach means that time is taken to carefully develop trusting relationships with clients on the street – where we find them. We focus on their priorities, not our own, and work at their pace. We work creatively and flexibly with clients to develop a highly personalised joint action plan focused on reaching their goals and aspirations.
Our outreach workers go out and about in pairs during shifts between 7am and 7pm. Where we go is guided by referrals we receive from the local community and our own knowledge of rough sleeping, begging and anti-social behaviour across the borough. During their shifts, outreach workers identify and engage with new clients, as well as checking in on people we already know.
Once we’ve engaged with people, we support them to resolve their homelessness through community or street-based care, encouraging them to move away from a lifestyle on the streets and engage with buildings-based services.
The Street Engagement Team are proving that with the right approach, even the most disengaged people can turn their lives around.