Support Work

WHO WE SUPPORT

We provide support for those that either refuse to engage or who find it difficult to engage with other services. We concentrate on supporting entrenched rough sleepers and the rootless community that often finds itself street homeless.

WHY NOT EVERYONE WILL ACCESS SUPPORT

It is often difficult to understand why a person living on the streets would refuse support but there are many legitimate reasons for this. This may include a distrust originating from numerous failures in the past, severe undiagnosed mental health issues, a drug or alcohol dependency (normally manifested as a result of a mental health issue) a fear of being found (some people living on the streets are hiding from their life) or a sense of having given up or not feeling deserving of support.

ISSUES FACING ROUGH SLEEPERS

Our service users face a number of difficulties:

Health problems: Our service users often suffer quite severe health problems, infections, circulatory problems, breathing difficulties and other conditions associated to living out in the open. Many are, or soon become, amputees. Added to these are terrible dental issues resulting from years of poor oral hygiene and a high sugar diet.

Difficulties accessing services: A high number of our service users do not claim any form of benefits. The find it difficult to navigate the official system successfully so give up on it. Housing assessments can take up to 4 hours to complete, an almost impossible time for our service users to wait, whilst suffering from debilitating mental health issues and dependencies, and an ingrained distrust of authority. Most service users have also not seen a doctor or dentist for years.

The authorities: Living the life they do, they are often brought into contact with the police and the courts. They are often moved on from places of sanctuary they have found and are dispersed from the city and town centres to make the areas look "cleaner". They are hounded through the courts, criminalised for minor offences associated with their lifestyles.

OUTREACH SUPPORT

All of our work is done on an outreach basis, on the street or inside services. Our outreach work aims to:
• Engage with hard to reach individuals
• Remove key barriers to engagement
• Build relationships based on trust and offer appropriate support
• Support clients manage the changes they will experience
• Offer practical support around the specific issues faced

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Our staff work tirelessly to make sure rough sleepers in West Yorkshire know that there is someone there for them, who will sit and talk to them and offer the emotional support that is lacking in their lives.

Unconditional: we provide a vital connection for those who have nowhere else to turn, offering someone to turn to for unconditional support.
Empathy: we are a group of people who will show interest in them in a respectful, tolerant, empathetic manner aimed at empowering them to improve their self-image and begin to think about making positive changes in their lives, but we ask for nothing in return.
Empowering: we centre on them, their thoughts and desires, their aspirations and their regrets, which is the key to the kind of self-reflection that is necessary for any kind of behavioural change that will have a real chance of success.
Non-judgemental: we are non-judgemental in our support and do not ask anything in return. This has been proven by us to work and allows us to offer much-needed support to those that would otherwise live unsupported.

 

MOTIVATIONAL WORK AROUND ACCESSING SERVICES

Working towards engagement: our skills, knowledge and experience put us in the ideal position to re-examine the relationships of service users and services that have not been useful in the past.
Partnership work: through a combination of good case work and good partnership work, we can enable service users to reach a point where they feel able to access the specialist support services they need. We can simultaneously work with agencies and support them in their work with the service user.

LONG-TERM SUPPORT

In the majority of cases, even after a client is housed we will continue to offer support. This is because we recognise that having a tenancy does not mean that the complex needs of that individual have been met. Many of our clients see rough sleeping as a safer choice for them, and whilst they are unable to feel safe at a place they call ‘home’ and engaging with services to a level that supports their needs, we will continue to support them.

WEEKLY SOUP-RUN

Once a week, every week we take soup out to our service users in the evening. But, it’s not about the soup. The soup acts as an icebreaker, as something to share, to help build engagements and relationships based on empathy, non-judgement and unconditional support with vulnerable people who literally have no-where to turn to. 

We have countless successes with people who had otherwise been given up on, and others we support on the streets where they have decided they want to be.