Monday 10 October is World Homeless Day – a day which highlights the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping, and to encourage governments and organisations worldwide to take action. At St Mungo’s, our ambition is to make it the last night on the streets for as many people experiencing homelessness as we can.
Our Last Night on the Streets winter campaign shows the realities and dangers of sleeping rough during the winter months. At St Mungo’s, we work every day and every night, to help people away from the streets and into a safe and warm place they can call home. We’ve used actors in our public campaign but the stories it’s telling are very much real. We hear first-hand how the people we support experience violence and fear when sleeping rough.
It was very important to us that the experiences of the people we support were reflected in our campaign. We spoke to people we have supported into accommodation and recovery to talk about how it felt to know that it was their own last night on the streets.
Sam, who moved from Manchester to London in 2007 after being kicked out of his home, found himself sleeping rough. Since working with St Mungo’s, he now lives in his own flat and works as an apprentice:
“That first night on the streets was awful, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. All I had was a blanket and it was really cold. I was awake most of the night – afraid of being stabbed or something.
After eight months of sleeping rough, an outreach worker told me she’d got me a bed in a hostel and a grant for some new clothes. That first night inside was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had – going from concrete to a mattress, I slept like a baby.
From there I moved into a flat where I was supported by St Mungo’s. They treated me as a human. They’d encourage me to come out of my flat to go to events. I could talk to them about anything, and have a laugh and a joke. They helped me get my spark back.
In May I started my new job. I’m an apprentice at the Department for Work and Pensions, assisting a senior member of staff. The Job Centre put me forward for it but I never thought I would get it. I beat 192 people to the job – I couldn’t believe it when they told me. Now that I have a proper salary I might get a new car, and move into a bigger flat in a few months too. It all feels a bit surreal.”
At St Mungo’s, we work hard at every stage of the journey to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. And while our public campaign focuses mainly on our frontline rough sleeping services, everyone at St Mungo’s – whatever their job – are dedicated to ending homelessness, for good.
So, over the coming months, we’ll be sharing stories from across St Mungo’s and how we all work to make it someone’s last night on the streets.
Help make tonight someone’s last night on streets, donate today.