Alex and Emily are Outreach Workers for HARP’s Rough Sleeper Service. Emily has been working with us since November and Alex since February. We caught up with them to find out how they are getting on and learn more about their roles.
What does your role entail?
Emily - “We do a mix of proactive and reactive work. Day shifts involve the more proactive, planned work. For example helping someone make an action plan of what they can do to get back on track or to do the things on their plan, like getting medical or mental health support. The evenings are more reactive, depending on what we find when we go out – we might have to call ambulances or mental health services, or help someone get into emergency accommodation. We work closely with other agencies in the town centre, which I really enjoy.”
What is the first thing you do when you get in to work?
Alex - “The first thing I usually do is check my emails to see if any information has come in about where people are rough sleeping. Then we’ll go out in the outreach van, which contains all our supplies, and follow up on what we’ve been told as well as visit places where we know people might be sleeping rough. Sometimes there are meetings to attend too.”
What are the most interesting aspects of your role?
Emily - “I love the variety. We’re not stuck in an office. And it’s great to be able to find someone, talk about their problems and advise them on where they can go. We won’t solve all their problems as the people we work with often have very complex needs, but we can give them that first step, whether that’s getting them accommodation for the night or referring them to another agency.”
Alex - “For me the best bit is when we get the success stories - when somebody who didn’t want to engage with us finally does and they start making progress.”