Igor is an outreach coordinator at St Mungo’s in Bristol. Here he tell us about how Streetlink alerts are used, and what to expect on a typical outreach team shift.
StreetLink community spotlight - Dave
Hi Dave, could you let me know a little bit more about yourself and when you found yourself experiencing homeless?
When I first came out of prison, I stayed with my ex-partner and my son. I had no bedding or money of my own. Unfortunately, the situation was really difficult there so I decided to leave and ended up sleeping rough.
I was walking around with nowhere to go all day. I was dealing with pain in my stomach and spent three days in hospital as a result. I got locked in a really difficult cycle of going in and out of hospital, ending up back on the streets each time. I hated being on the streets but I couldn’t stay at the hospital as there wasn’t space for me.
When I was back on the streets a couple met me and took me to McDonald's and bought me food and drink. That same day, someone, maybe those people, made a StreetLink referral. That night some outreach workers came out and I told them my situation.
Is there anything you think people should know about what it’s like to sleep rough?
It’s really difficult out there. It’s not safe and people are not treated well. It’s better for people to be off the streets, particularly in bad weather or if they are old or sick.
What happened after outreach found you and how are you doing now?
At first, I slept on the floor of a nearby church for a while and then I got the place in the hostel. I have now been in the hostel for three months.
I’m doing well and my support worker says I could be in an independent flat before Christmas. It’s good to be off the streets and I’ve had support to come off drugs and alcohol.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to start over fresh and get away from everything in the past. I used to drink and take drugs and now I’ve stopped and this is just the way I want to remain. I’m with my girlfriend and we help each other. I want to get on with my own life and keep myself fit.
What are your thoughts about StreetLink?
StreetLink is a good way to help people to get off the streets. The people that come and see you after a referral has been made do what they can to help you get a bed. The help that I’ve had from StreetLink was very useful and I’m really glad now that I’m off the street.
*Dave’s name has been changed.
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Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link.
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