Working With The Passage To Support Rough Sleepers
28 February 2022
For the past few months, we have had additional support from charity The Passage who have been working to offer increased assistance to rough sleepers in the area. With the recent stormy weather giving more cause for concern, we spoke to Community Liaison Co‑ordinator Josh about what The Passage has been focusing on and what our Quarter businesses can do to help.
Hi Josh, can you sum up what your work in the Quarter involves?
We were commissioned to carry out Community Intervention work in the Quarter, as we had been doing in the south of the borough of Westminster too. We started by auditing the area to understand the issues that the residents and business were experiencing from people bedding down in that area and from those that have come to the area and are involved in anti-social behaviour. Once the two-week audit was complete, we began patrolling the Quarter.
How does The Passage work with rough sleepers to support them out of homelessness?
We engage with people bedding down with the view of linking them up to keyworkers and supported services. The aim is to work closely with services in the Baker Street area to ensure the people bedded down here are advised and directed to appropriate support.
The weather has been very challenging recently – how has The Passage adapted and provided extra support?
The recent strong winds over London triggered Westminster City Council’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which alerts services of severe weather. When a SWEP is called, services respond by identifying vulnerable persons sleeping rough and in need of immediate shelter during the bad weather. The storms we have had in London over the last couple of weeks required the Passage service to open earlier than normal and close later to ensure that clients had somewhere safe to shelter for the storm for the day.
What sort of impact do you think the BakerStreetQ Street Team has on supporting an area’s rough sleepers?
The team is very empathetic and supportive of rough sleepers and responds well to their needs. They let the Community Intervention Team (CIT) know when there is someone of concern and we can visit the site to assist. They are also very well versed in making Street Link referrals that we’ve trained them in.
Rough sleeping and homelessness can be very complex for individuals who find themselves in these circumstances. We work with them to navigate them away from the damaging effects of rough sleeping and into permanent sustainable accommodation, through multi-agency working and active support planning. We work closely with statutory and non-statutory services.
How can locals and workers support your efforts and best look out for people sleeping rough in the Quarter?
BakerStreetQ stakeholders, members of the public and local residents have been very sympathetic to the needs of those rough sleepers in their community, in our experience!
We suggest that in the first instance they complete a Street Link referral online, which is run by St Mungo’s. This is a great tool for outreach workers to be responsive to people bedding down in any specific area.
The other way is to notify the BakerStreetQ Street Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, who will inform the CIT and we can go out when we are next on shift.
What sort of support can local businesses give – e.g. financial donations, volunteering opportunities – to The Passage?
We have a long history of taking in volunteers into the Passage Resource Centre who are crucial to the smooth running of our services. You can get in contact with our Volunteer Coordinator email@example.com and we also have a Corporate Partnerships Manager who raises funds for our cause, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for your interest. The team also do presentations to local businesses and stakeholders, we would be happy to provide this service to you!