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.
Three days a week the street homeless are welcome at our day centre Hilldrop. There they can have a meal, take a shower, wash their clothes, use the internet, watch a film, socialise and relax indoors.
Monday – 11am to 3.30pm
Wednesday – 11am to 3.30pm
Friday – 11am to 3.30pm
Hilldop Day Centre
1 Hilldrop Road, Islington. London N7 0JE
Buses: 29 and 253 map
At our Community House we provide accommodation for people who would otherwise be on the streets. The residents are included in as much decision making as possible and are fully involved in organising and running the house.
We also run another house nearby, for those members who are working or actively seeking work and who have a greater level of independence. They take prime responsibility for the running of their household and require little support from our volunteer workers; however, they still remain part of the Community. This house acts a stepping-stone towards independent living.
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. There are currently about 10 people on the Visits list.
Photo below shows volunteers on our Thursday Soup Run