Whilst no one chooses to sleep rough, for those that have spent a prolonged period on the streets, it can be difficult and daunting to accepting support.
The outreach team have been working with a rough sleeper for an extended period that normally insists there is nothing the team can do to help him. However, after a long conversation we identified some areas that we could support him with, such as helping him get back in contact with his family and accessing appropriate benefits as he was finding this process too overwhelming.
Additionally, he was suffering from anxiety on a daily basis that made aspects of his life difficult. The outreach team built up a relationship with this rough sleeper and supported him to a doctor’s appointment so that he could obtain a sick note and discuss concerns about his anxiety, which had lead to substance abuse, particularly to help him sleep on a night.
Now, with support from the outreach team, this rough sleeper has progressed from never seeing a GP to attending numerous medical appointments and has had numerous blood tests. He has also been placed on some anxiety medication to help with the symptoms that he is suffering from daily.
Once the sick note was obtained, the team worked with the rough sleeper and supported him to make a new claim so that he could access appropriate benefits. This was a long process, as this individual does not have an address or a bank account and was made all the more difficult, as the individual does not have any ID, so we had to go through an appeals process. With his first payment he bought a mobile phone, so that he could keep in touch with everyone.
During this work and through conversations with the rough sleeper it became apparent that there had been a lot of relationship breakdowns in his life and this was having a negative impact on the way he was feeling. He told us that he had not been in contact with his family for a long time and they had no idea whether he was safe or not. He wanted to work on these relationships and the team helped him to write post cards to family members, including his new mobile number, so that his family could contact him. Since he has sent the postcards, his mum, dad and sister have all been in touch with him, which he is very pleased about. And we are too! He has assured us that now he has their numbers he will stay in regular contact with them.
Over the course of our work, this individual admitted many times that he would have given if he was doing this alone.
Having broken the vicious cycle of rough sleeping and accessing support for this rough sleeper, the next stage was to find suitable accommodation. We are very pleased to say that this individual has now been accommodated and is very happy to be settling in to this new accommodation!
If you have concerns over a rough sleeper please call 01482 223722.