Since the first survey of rough sleepers in Croydon last year, our work with partners Crisis, Expert Link, Homeless Link, ThamesReach, faith based groups, volunteers and Croydon Council has identified the barriers that prevent rough sleepers from getting and staying off the streets. System-wide changes are needed within both current homelessness provision and public services in order to successfully end chronic rough sleeping in Croydon by 2020.
Our task and finish groups, made up of local volunteers, are meeting regularly to tackle the issues identified but it is clear that in order to make the changes needed, we need buy-in at the highest level. We are planning to hold an event in early 2018 for key influencers within the borough and central Government to share what we have learned so far and what we need from them in order to end chronic rough sleeping in Croydon by 2020.
One outcome of the campaign so far is an increase in engagement with existing services from members of the street population.
When we met Jack, 28, during Connections Week in August 2016, he was sleeping in a derelict building in central Croydon. He had been sleeping rough on the streets of Croydon for six years and first became homeless at 18 when his family were evicted from their flat. His situation rapidly deteriorated after that.
‘When you are homeless, you no longer feel like part of society, you lose your self-respect and dignity. One of the worst parts is you have no way of keeping clean.’
Jack moved into the Fitze Millennium Centre, one of our supported housing services in Crystal Palace, in January 2017 and his life has changed significantly. With the support of our staff and Work + Learning Team, who help our customers achieve their goals and ambitions and get into education and employment, Jack is now learning to read and write and is completing his CSCS Card qualification as he wants to become a brick layer. Jack told us that one of the best outcomes for him is that he has been able to re-connect with his children.
‘Completing the CR Zero 2020 survey was one of the best things I ever did. I am starting to feel like part of society again.’
We are so grateful to have received such strong support for CR Zero 2020 from the local community, third sector organisations, housing and health departments and faith based groups. With their continued support, we hope to break down the barriers that prevent people coming off the streets and end chronic street homeless in Croydon by 2020.
93% of customers established contact with friends and family
If you would like to donate to support our CR Zero 2020 campaign to end all chronic street homelessness in Croydon by 2020, please click here.
If you would like to read more about CR Zero 2020, please click here.