World Homeless Day 2020

Everyone should have a safe, secure and stable home. However we have seen far too often how easy it is for someone to fall into the cycle of homelessness. The current coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on all our lives, but the homeless community are continually facing challenges.

World Homeless Day, marked annually on 10 October, emerged from online discussions between people working to respond to homelessness from various parts of the world.

The inaugural World Homeless Day was marked on 10 of October 2010.

Since its founding, World Homeless Day has been observed on every continent except Antarctica, in several dozen countries.

Use of the idea of ‘World Homeless Day’ is open for all to use… anywhere in the world.

This year on World Homeless Day we want to celebrate the fantastic work our Homeless Services are doing across Birmingham, supporting those most vulnerable. Our care and support charity, Trident Reach, deliver commissioned services for Birmingham City Council and have been on the forefront in tackling the homelessness crisis in Birmingham.

Washington Court, Trident Reach’s homeless hostel in the City, provides emergency, direct access accommodation to those who are homeless, including people who are sleeping rough. The hostel provision can support up to 106 individuals for up to 8 weeks, with the aim in supporting them to move on to more appropriate longer term accommodation.

2020 has presented unique challenges, with the nationwide lockdown and adjusting to both a new way of living and working. During the lockdown Homeless Service staff continued to provide services to some of the most vulnerable individuals in the City. They worked with Birmingham City Council to fulfil the ‘Everybody In’ government directive to ensure that all homeless and rough sleeping individuals were protected from coronavirus and were offered accommodation. From March until June, Washington Court saw over 550 individuals present for assistance with housing. They were able to access either placements within Washington Court and our other supported housing projects, or work with Birmingham City Council’s Housing Options Team to find other suitable accommodation.

Coming out of the strict lockdown measures, staff and customers have had to adjust to longer term Covid-19 secure processes. Meals are now served to take away and served behind protective screens. Screens are used in interview rooms during support sessions, wearing of masks and face shields has become the new norm. Despite the challenges, staff have continued to work with individuals presenting at the door on a daily basis and linking in with partner agencies to ensure that support is appropriately tailored and holistic.

Our Rough Sleepers Outreach team, who are the City’s commissioned outreach service, have been working 7 days a week for over 6 months to ensure that all rough sleepers have access to support. The team have worked collaboratively with partner agencies so that everyone who is sleeping rough have offers of accommodation and on-going support. The team also lead on targeted multi-agency meetings so that all relevant partners are involved in supporting individuals. Further fortnightly late night/early morning outreach sessions are facilitated with our partners. This gives us a clearer indication of who is rough sleeping, as well as being able to provide earlier interventions for those who are new to rough sleeping. We have seen the number of people rough sleeping fall during the lockdown period, and current numbers significantly less than this time last year.

Trident Reach’s Rapid Rehousing team have also continued to work with rough sleepers during this unprecedented and challenging period. The team worked jointly with Tabor House and Birmingham City Council to support those sleeping rough into accommodation at the City’s local Holiday Inn hotel, which was heavily publicised in the media. Over 50 rough sleepers were then supported into secure accommodation through the Housing First project and Trident Housing Association.

Through vital access to funds from various grants and the City’s council, it enabled the team to furnish accommodation and purchase essential items for customers who were offered secure accommodation. Customers were given the flexibility to choose their items, which included items such as a bed, sofa, settee, table, television; which further motivated  our  customers to become more aspirational with their new home and life. The funds have also helped with sourcing identification documents, travel passes and groceries. These funds are crucial to starting a new tenancy and make it more feasible for the transition into accommodation. The objective is for customers to sustain their tenancy with the wrap-around support on offer from various Trident Reach services and putting an end to their cycle of homelessness. 

To learn more about Trident Reach’s Homeless Services, please watch a short video below:

To learn more about services on offer from Trident Reach, visit www.tridentreach.org.uk

To learn more about donating to Change into Action to help the region’s homeless during Coronavirus pandemic, visit https://changeintoaction.org.uk/