The Outreach Team provides individuals with an excellent service, enabling people to leave the street and take their first steps towards a lasting, genuine independence.
The outreach team visits rough sleepers at their sleeping sites during their evening and early morning outreach shifts. The team makes contact and builds relationships with rough sleepers through face to face meetings and with our Rough Sleeper Helpline (020 8404 1481). This receives calls from homeless people, members of the public who are concerned about rough sleepers and from other agencies working with our clients.
The team carry out assessments of need and begin to address issues such as physical and mental health, substance use and finances. We also work with people who are homeless but not rough sleeping – for instance those who are ‘sofa surfing’ or staying on a friend’s floor.
Each year SPEAR manages the street count for homeless people for the Borough of Richmond which feeds into the government’s statistics on homelessness. Also the team conducts Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in extreme weather conditions in the Richmond Borough when the Met Office predicts that weather will drop below 0 degree Celsius for 3 days/nights in a row.
The biggest challenge for the team is to find accommodation for the huge numbers of homeless people who approach the service.