Street Outreach: A Source of Hope

Josi Zane, Fundraising & Communications Officer writes:

I met with Steve who works in New Hope’s Rough Sleeping Prevention Service team in order to gain an insight into street outreach work. He tells me what the team does, why it’s so important and how the team is growing in order to offer specialist care to meet the specific needs of the individuals the team encounters on Watford’s streets.   

Street outreach work is undertaken predominately in response to notifications from concerned members of the public via Streetlink.  Streetlink is a nationwide service that links those sleeping on the streets with local, specialist support services. Steve explains that members of staff build long-term, supportive relationships with individuals sleeping on the streets; offering them an open, listening ear and a source of hope and comfort, irrespective of the person’s circumstances.  

Disdain and hostility from passers-by are commonplace for those sleeping on our streets contributing, often, to an already deep-seated feeling of hopelessness and feelings of low self-worth. A friendly and familiar face can help boost morale and provides the prospect of long-term practical and emotional support from within New Hope’s services.   

Steve speaks proudly of a recent success whereby an individual, due to high levels of anxiety, for many years was unable to enter The Haven for breakfast and practical support. As a result of a long-standing, positive relationship with New Hope’s outreach workers and the trust that arose from the relationship, he now feels comfortable eating breakfast at The Haven and is in now in regular receipt of practical and emotional support from us.

New Hope’s street outreach team is expanding. Support workers with particular specialisms and experience supporting those suffering from mental health problems, alcohol and drug dependencies will be on hand to help us support Watford’s most disenfranchised individuals.

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Joe Meehan