Outreach, which includes Streetwork and our tea and soup-runs, is a fundamental part of the work we do. It is often the first contact we have with people who are sleeping rough in London.
All our outreach work keeps us in touch with the latest news on the streets, and helps us to monitor how many people are sleeping rough at different times throughout the year. It also means that we can keep in close contact with as many people as possible, and to respond as far as we can to their needs. Although each rough sleeper's needs are different, an offer of friendship with a non-judgemental face is usually welcome.
The whole Community takes part in outreach; residents from our houses, ex-residents living outside Community, as well as part and full-time volunteer workers.
While we don't have a day centre at the moment, we still see many guests coming to the door for food or a hot drink, we will try to help with whatever we can.
At our Community House we provide some accommodation for people who would otherwise be on the streets though space here is very limited and we aren't able to help with emergency accomodation. The residents are included in as much decision making as possible and are fully involved in organising and running the house.
Taking people from the streets and placing them in more permanent accommodation does not necessarily mean that they are no longer in need of support. Just because someone has a roof and a television it does not mean that the underlying problems, which caused them to become homeless, in the first place have been resolved. The Visits Project aims to address this issue by offering long-term support to former Simon Community residents who have moved into their own accommodation. We offer support in myriad ways, typically this involves:
budgeting - for example, ensuring that the electric bill is paid on time
emotional support and understanding - someone to talk to
explaining rights in relation to housing associations and landlords
putting people in contact with services offered in their local area - shopping, transport and companionship on hospital visits
This is an essential part of the Community's work in order to break the long-term cycle of homelessness.
Photo below shows volunteers on our Thursday Soup Run