A day in the life of a Street Outreach Worker
Kylie is the Luton Outreach Team Leader at NOAH. Her job is to help people sleeping rough access the support they need to move away from the streets of Luton.
“I manage the team of NOAH Outreach workers and we walk along the streets of Luton searching for people who are homeless. We also search parks, graveyards, car parks, high rise buildings, and talk to people and offer them our support services. Often, we go out as early as 5am.
Every day is different and every person has different support needs and their own unique story to tell. Some might have mental health difficulties and others may have fallen into homelessness through a relationship breakdown.
We are there to offer support and guidance, offering a range of different choices and tailoring the care to the needs of each individual. Sometimes it can be a long wait until a person accepts the help, which can require patience and perseverance. We’ll go back every day and offer support.
Every week, we receive reports of potential homeless sightings through Streetlink, and we’ll go and see if we can find them. If we can’t, we keep trying at different times of the day. If we do find someone sleeping rough and they are willing to receive help, we will take them back to the welfare centre, register them, give them food, shower, clothing, find accommodation and help them with other difficulties like mental health and addiction issues.
I really love working with our clients and walking alongside them on their journey. Sometimes it can be a long time before they are able to walk independently on their chosen path. My team are privileged to be able to provide that initial contact. We’re here to tell them that they are not alone and we can get them to help they need.
As soon as we get someone off the streets, sadly, there’s always another person starting their homeless journey. I recently found 5 homeless people in one day and sourced them accommodation. That was a busy day for us but certainly a rewarding one to know that they did not have to sleep on the street again that night.
We often hear that homelessness is self-inflicted, but in my own experience, the reality is far more complex.
Yesterday, we found a client rough sleeping and was told how he had been taken advantage of and got pushed out his council property by ‘friends’. He was very vulnerable mentally, so we found him alternative accommodation and referred him to our mental health nurse.
I am motivated to go to work every day because if we can help even a single person off the streets, then it is a job worth doing.”
NOAH provides Street Outreach support across Luton and Central Bedfordshire.
Read our latest newsletter here.