How much do you know about supporting street homeless people? Would you buy them a cup of coffee, give them money or start a conversation? These questions and more were answered during the talk we received from David Annand of Transform Housing & Support. David referred to Why Transform is one of Surrey’s best kept secrets as so little is known about it’s existence. Transform support a wide range of people from the ages of 16 to 90. In 2019/20 they were dealing with 1734 clients. There were 160 properties containing 920 clients. Both men and women are being supported and the majority of women are aged between 30-59 years of age. The focus of support is very much on skills development, for example tenancy management, budgeting, managing harmful behaviours and independent living skills such as personal hygiene and cooking. Amongst their clients, they have people with a wide range of complex needs, such as substance misuse, alcohol addiction and mental health issues. Some clients may be ex offenders or those with learning difficulties.
As a Soroptimist Club, we have focused on domestic abuse charities but Transform are also dealing with both men and women who are domestic abuse survivors. David stressed the point that nearly all their clients had been involved with some form of domestic abuse. Transform help people to re establish healthy relationships. They work alongside other charities such as Women’s Aid and will also make referrals. They will accompany clients to the Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) and are sometimes supported pro bono by solicitors and surveyors.
Although Transform receive funding from Surrey County Council, there is still a need to raise more funding to pay for a range of items. Some items such as pyjamas and dressing gowns have been supported through retail outlets. Here, David describes how Transform buys ID papers:
You can support Transform by taking part in the following event on Sat 10th July, details are on this link: Sleep Out at Home | Transform Housing & Support. They are also looking for support in the: The Surrey Hills Challenge – The Biggest Sporting Challenge in Surrey
A very useful website, StreetLink, exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them: https://www.streetlink.org.uk/
One of the Soroptimists after the talk commented: I was really impressed with the joined-up thinking that this organisation had.
By the way, the answer to the first question is ‘Start a conversation’. This is because the street homeless are quite isolated and do not always have the opportunity to talk to someone. If you feel it is safe to do so, you could try asking them about themselves and you may be pleasantly surprised.