30 November 2018
St Mungo’s is delighted to be one of four charities chosen as the beneficiaries of The Times Christmas Charity Appeal. Over several weeks we will be sharing stories about our work to end homelessness and rebuild lives.
In today’s edition, readers heard about the vital work of St Mungo’s outreach staff, who we go out each day in the early mornings and at night to meet people who are sleeping rough and help them to move away from the streets.
For nearly 50 years, St Mungo’s has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle homelessness and, with 17 outreach teams, we are one of the largest providers of homelessness outreach services in the country. On any given night, we provide a bed and support to over 2,800 people.
Lorna Fraser, Outreach Worker for St Mungo’s Westminster SOS team, and Service Manager Laura Shovlin, spoke to Gary, who has been sleeping rough since moving to London to break his dependence on heroin. Many others also shared their personal experiences of homelessness, including Big Issue seller Mark and Raull who has been living on the streets with his dog Bentley for three months. You can read more about their stories on the The Times website here.
Petra Salva, Director of St Mungo’s Homeless and Outreach Services, said: “Our policy is not to walk on by. Every time we talk to someone it is an opportunity to bring someone in off the streets. Sleeping on the pavement like that is dangerous. It shortens people’s lives.”
About 60% of people found sleeping rough by our staff are on the streets for the first time and, of these, 80% don’t spend a second night out on the streets and are found accommodation of some type. However, many people remain on the streets long term, or return to rough sleeping, due to having complex needs such as mental health issues.
At St Mungo’s, we know that it takes more than a roof over someone’s head to end homelessness. While sleeping rough is the most visible form of homelessness, the causes and consequences of having nowhere stable to live are often much more complicated. That’s why we’ve developed a recovery based approach for our clients, focusing on addressing the issues a person faces to help them move on with their lives.
The generosity of The Times’ readers will help us continue to work with the most vulnerable and support people like Gary, Mark and Raull to help them leave the streets for good.
To read today’s article, click here. To donate to The Times Christmas Appeal visit www.thetimes.co.uk/timesappeal or call 0151 284 2336.