Earlier in the year, homeless charity and housing association St Mungo’s launched First Response; their street-to-help connection service that coincides with their successfully managed partnership, Streetlink.
In the few months since launch back in April 2018, First Response has already become a popular volunteering option for people of all ages based in the four operating boroughs in London – over 150 members of their community have signed up to make a difference on the streets. The response has been so rapid that, much to their surprise, they currently have a waiting list for volunteers in central London, which puts the charity in a positive place as winter draws nearer.
This kind of action has been boosted by the £100 million of government funding that’s focused on tackling homelessness. It’s been reported that thousands of rough sleepers across the country will be offered fast-track assessments and, consequently, support as part of new measures that were announced by the Communities Secretary. A definite step in the right direction, especially with £30 million to be spent on mental health treatment and addiction rehabilitation services.
First Response has a clear four-step plan of action;
1. Increase engagement with local communities
2. Improve the reach and effectiveness of outreach
3. Find new rough sleepers faster to connect support
4. Reduce long-term rough sleeping
And they need your help to carry this out.
How you can help a rough sleeper in need
If you’re concerned about someone you’ve seen sleeping rough, even if you know them or you’ve just passed them by, you can use Streetlink to send an alert to an outreach support worker or the local authority, who will then try and find the individual in the hope to connect them with the right help for their needs. All you need to do is take a minute to register and then fill in the alert info (your details, time, location, person’s description) before submitting.
If you see rough sleepers regularly then download the Streetlink app for faster alerting.