We have learnt that there is no such thing as a typical homeless person, and so our services reflect this diversity.
Clients could have spent years on the street, and may need very intensive support to give them the skills to live independently or they may have been made homeless after a job loss or a marriage breakdown, and be able very quickly to move into their own tenancy and get on with their lives.
SPEAR services pathway
Outreach work across the borough ensures that we find and offer support to those who are sleeping rough.
Our main hostel, Penny Wade House, is on the Richmond Roundabout. While clients stay here, we work with them to address their support needs and find more permanent accommodation.
Also in Richmond, we operate a hostel for young people who would otherwise face homelessness and a life within the Criminal Justice System. There is also a 9 bedroom property in Merton, the MASH project, which works intensively with young people, enabling real opportunity for change in their lives.
SPEAR also has 5 additional supported accommodation that serves as a bridge between living in the hostel and living independently and sustaining tenancy. These are called ‘House with Multiple Occupancies’ (HMO).
SPEAR’s Tenancy Sustainment Team is an integrated service for people who have been or are at risk of becoming homeless. Once a service user has been referred to us we can assess what kind of accommodation they would be suitable for and help them to access it. This could either be a temporary Rough Sleeper’s Initiative training flat, their own council nomination or a flat in the private rented sector. SPEAR’s Tenancy Sustainment Team support people in temporary and more permanent accommodation offering advice, resettlement and support to maintain their tenancies.
The South West London Resettlement Service (SWLRS) provides rough sleepers, support and access into accommodation. The team aim to provide support to those who are sleeping rough in the Boroughs of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth. The four bed staging post that is located in Merton is immediate accommodation for those in need.
All our services ask clients to sign a support contract. This encourages them to regain control of all aspects of their lives, not just their accommodation. It addresses issues including health, family, legal concerns, substance misuse and emotional well being.
We have a Skills Development Department, who offer all our clients access to daytime activities and support into volunteering, training and employment. We know that increased self esteem comes with small steps of change and that all these steps make the difference to maintaining a home and breaking the cycle of homelessness.
The SPEAR Homeless Health Link Service launched in Spring 2015, linking current or former rough sleepers from the Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth, Merton and Kingston boroughs into primary NHS care; supporting mental or physical services. This approach reduces the likelihood of more serious long-term illnesses, complex needs and addictions and leads to fewer A&E admissions.
In 2016, SPEAR we have founded a HMO in Richmond, for women who were victims of domestic violence. This accommodation houses 4 women, supported by members of the Homeless Health Link and a Specialist Domestic Violence Worker who focuses on building up confidence, therapy workshops and counselling.
To hear from some of our and service users and their experiences, please visit our YouTube page.