At Simon on the Streets, we take pride in working towards the goals and aspirations of the people we support. We listen to their needs, their goals and their dreams, and support them on their journey.
Listening to our clients is at the heart of what
we do, and for good reason. Our clients know best. They know the barriers they
face and the opportunities they need to change their lives. And we need to
listen to them.
We often hear from our supporters that they are unsure of how to help someone who is homeless. It can be difficult to know what to do and what the right action to take is. In this week’s blog post, one of our Leeds outreach worker’s discusses little ways you can help someone sleeping rough.
Give a moment of your time.
People may be afraid to approach homeless individuals on the streets, often due to negative stereotypes. Sadly, many people we speak to often report feeling unnoticed, worthless and shameful, particularly when people walk past and ignore them.
Simple greetings such as “Good morning” or “How’s your day been?” can mean a lot. It’s important to show respect. Crouching down to the individual’s level, rather than standing over them whilst having a conversation, puts you on an equal level.
Unfortunately, we are too often told that we are the first person
an individual has spoken to all day.
Don’t be disheartened if some individuals don’t
respond to you. Each person is different and some days, people just don’t want
to chat. However, the smile you gave them may give them the hope and strength
to keep fighting another day.
We can’t presume to know what an individual needs.
When someone we know is going through a tough
time, we’re all guilty of thinking we know what’s best. It’s highly likely that
they’ve already considered their options, and many not be looking for advice. Understandably, comments such as “get a job” help no-one.
Similarly, it's important to check with an individual before offering items. Don’t be surprised if offers of food are rejected. That person may have already eaten. Or they may be vegetarian. Or they simply may not like that sandwich filling! Asking someone what they would like before buying it for them will be greatly appreciated by the individual.
It's important to remember that we don't know what someone is going through and what support they need. What may seem horrifying to you may be a standard way of life for them. We need to show understanding and empathy to those on the streets. Great strength and determination are often needed to survive a homeless lifestyle.
Report someone sleeping rough
By reporting someone sleeping rough, you can ensure they receive the specialist support they need. You can use the Street Link app, available to download for free on your phone.
Alternatively, you can report anyone sleeping
rough in Leeds, Bradford or Kirklees to us by ringing 0113 345 2270 or
emailing us at email@example.com.
Please ensure you get an exact location. A
physical description of the person is also incredibly helpful.
Leeds Outreach Worker