[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There are dozens of rough sleepers who have spent years living on the streets, and feel that they are beyond help.
For long-term, or ‘entrenched’ rough sleepers, going to a hostel and finding somewhere to live can be hugely daunting. Many have been let down in the past, ended up back on the street, and lack the confidence to try again.
Church Housing Trust takes great pride in funding innovative new projects that can reach out to these people, and show them they can rebuild their lives. Street Buddies, launched in January 2013 by service provider Riverside Care and Support, has been such a success it could become part of a nationwide approach to help entrenched rough sleepers.
The Street Buddies team is made up of volunteers. They have all had experience of street homelessness, and can approach other rough sleepers with empathy and understanding. They are also living examples that it is never too late to leave the streets and change your life.
The team helps rough sleepers to take their first steps re-engaging with services, and supports them throughout this process. They keep in touch when they move into their own accommodation, and offer tenancy support to those who are struggling.
The volunteers benefit too. Aside from building confidence in themselves, they act as role-models for others, and have the chance to stay in the position full-time.
I am able to use my own experience when I make contact with rough sleepers.
For David, who had been on the streets for almost forty years, the idea that anyone could offer him a way out of sleeping rough seemed impossible. Until Gary, a former rough sleeper himself, spotted David on a regular patrol of known sleeping spots in Westminster, central London.
Gary said: “I am able to use my own experience when I make contact with rough sleepers. David had refused help from many outreach agencies, but once I won his trust I could work with my colleagues to get him into one of our specialist care and support centres, where we could help him look at what support he needed.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]