Reducing Rough Sleeping to Zero

Thursday 10th October is World Homeless Day. Marked internationally, the day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and those affected by it. This week, Action Homeless will be sharing stories about the diverse range of people we have worked with and the key values that underpin our work.

It is the ambition of all those who work to tackle homelessness in Leicester to reduce sleeping rough to zero by the end of 2020.

As part of the city’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, we have been working with partners from across the city by taking part in monthly overnight street counts in an attempt to meet and offer support to people sleeping on the streets. Many of the people we meet on the streets often have chaotic lifestyles and require flexible and patient support to help them make changes in their lives.

Joel was identified on a rough sleeper count and has been sleeping rough on and off since he was 15 years old, having been forced to leave home. Joel is vulnerable to being exploited and leads a very chaotic and sometimes unsafe lifestyle. He has struggled to maintain his own homes in the past as the have been taken over by others and he been forced out.

Staff from various homelessness services spoke to Joel over a number of months while he was sleeping on the streets. At times, Joel was offered accommodation with Action Homeless and was interested but wasn’t ready to engage. Due to the nature of his lifestyle, Joel was difficult to track down staff met him several times in town where he was known to beg and spoke to him and took him for something to eat.

After patiently working with Joel, staff were able to place him in a B&B before offering him accommodation in a house managed by Action Homeless.

Due to Joel’s chaotic lifestyle, he was having issues living in his accommodation that made it unsafe for him and others living there. He was also frequently having guests stay with him and they causing issues for other people in the house.

Action Homeless wanted to give Joel opportunities to address these issues so he could settle into his home and achieve his own goals. Joel spoke to staff about wanting help him to overcome drug issues so he could start doing ‘normal’ things. Joel also expressed an interest in wanting to have his own gardening business and wanted to transform the garden at his accommodation to keep him occupied.

It was agreed that we would help Joel focus on addressing his drug use and support him to get him the tools to do his gardening.

Staff have seen him make progress, although at times it has not been an easy and he has slept rough since Action Homeless staff have been working with him. However, we have come to understand Joel better and he is now taking more control of his life.

Joel has moved into another project with a higher level of staff support where he can get more help with his room and his motivation. We hope that this move will help him break the cycle of homelessness.

Supported by the The European End Street Homelessness Campaign

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.