A group of former rough sleepers are being trained as outreach workers to help get homeless people off the streets.
The Street Buddies project, run by our partner Riverside ECHG, began in January this year. The group is being trained on issues such as substance use, mental health, professional boundaries and knowledge of the range of care services available.
One of the group to be certified was former rough sleeper Mariusz. Mariusz began sleeping rough after his life spiralled out of control following the end of his marriage. He became addicted to drugs and stole to feed his habit. He said:
“Because we’ve all been there ourselves, we know how to relate to people on the street. I really do want to connect with these people and tell them there is an alternative.”
The group has a unique set of skills and experience which will help them to engage with rough sleepers and turn their lives around.
Natalie Lodge, Street Buddies co-ordinator, said: “This is a very exciting project that has the potential to change the way services are delivered in the future. We are using the expertise and knowledge that already exists on the street. Homeless people are part of the solution, not the problem.”