to help 200 people sleeping rough in London take their first steps
This initiative will take the form of a pilot, based in London.
programme of support to meet the challenge set out in the Social
Exclusion Report to reduce rough sleeping in London by two-thirds, by
The minister was visiting the Aldgate Advice Caf, - a drop in centre
for rough sleepers and the Outlook Project Programme Centre, in King's
Cross - which helps meet the jobsearch needs of homeless people.
Mr Smith said:
'This government is committed to tackling social exclusion. In the
past, there has been an attitude of offering support to those who
could be helped quickly. Meanwhile, we were facing a growth of
people who were socially excluded; people without homes - and without
the resources to help address their long-term needs. We can change
this by giving people the means to move out of this excluded group
and help them take their first steps towards independence.'
'The pilot I am launching today will feature three different strands
of support, to be delivered by three leading voluntary sector
agencies - St Botolph's, St Mungo's and Training for Life. These
* a programme of initial training to develop basic skills,
independent living skills, social and interpersonal skills, work
habits, self-awareness and decision making;
* professional mentoring to provide ongoing support for rough
sleepers; and specially trained peer mentors, who have previously
slept rough, will work with rough sleepers.
Mr Smith met representatives from the three volunteer groups and was
given a tour of the Advice Caf, by St Botolph,s Education & Training
Manager Simon Sebaggala.
Mr Sebaggala said:
'This pilot represents a powerful opportunity to target hard-to-reach
users with a history of rough sleeping who have been excluded from
current provision. We will use this opportunity to provide initial
vocational training that enables individuals to develop the skills
and awareness that are fundamental to success in education, training
Mr Smith emphasised the importance of support networks, and the need
for rough sleepers to have someone to talk to who can relate to their
experiences and understand their needs. He said:
'The support from mentors who have previously slept rough is an
important element of the programme. These people have had a
comparable life experience, and appreciate the difficulties a rough
sleeper faces. Their aim is to offer support, understanding and a
positive role model to motivate the rough sleeper to take control of
On the mentoring programme, Sue Hanshaw from St Mungo's said:
'Mentors provide vital support for rough sleepers. They offer help
and advice which can prove invaluable during the transition from
sleeping rough to a more stable lifestyle. The mentoring relationship
can make a real difference here as this is when rough sleepers are
prone to revert to their street life.'
At the Outlook Project in King's Cross the Minster formally opened the
centre and met some of the participants and people involved in
running the project.
Richard Jackson, chief executive of Camden Jobtrain which delivers
the programme said:
'The Outlook Project will be a beacon of opportunity for homeless
people who need real support, guidance and encouragement to get on
the right track towards a job and a brighter future. Outlook will
genuinely gear the help that people receive, to meeting their own
individual and very often complex needs. This programme will benefit
a large number of disadvantaged people by helping them to become
fully involved in society, and indeed, contributing to the economy.'
Mr Smith unveiled a plaque to mark the formal opening of the project.
'The Outlook Project will play an important role in addressing the
issue of homelessness amongst unemployed people. This centre is
designed to provide an environment in which homeless people can
access support, training and jobsearch facilities; the aim is to
empower people by addressing both social and work skills so that
eventually they can have the confidence and ability to lead a secure
and independent life'.
Housing minister Hilary Armstrong said:
'This project will give rough sleepers the chance of a brighter
future by helping them develop the skills they need to build more
settled and independent lives away from the streets.
'Our new London Rough Sleepers Unit is spearheading the 'joined
up' approach to tackling the employment, training, education,
healthcare and housing needs of rough sleepers in the capital. We
will look carefully at the results of this pilot to plan the unit's
1. The Social Exclusion Report on Rough Sleepers, published in July
1998 is available from The Stationery Office Limited, Tel 0345 02 34
2. The Rough Sleepers pilot has been developed by the DfEE, DETR and
the new London Rough Sleepers Unit. The new Unit took overall
responsibility for rough sleepers in London from April 1999;
employment support will be handed over in April 2000.
3. The pilot is to provide for people over 25 who are, or have
recently been, sleeping rough. Those already in hostels or other
temporary accommodation, who have recently been sleeping rough and
have made some progress towards stability but need additional support
to move towards work, are included in the client group.
4. A high proportion of the client group have mental health
problems, or are drug or alcohol abusers. Many were in care as
children, or have been in prison. They present a complex package of
needs and problems which the pilot will aim to address before they
can move into a more stable lifestyle.
5. The pilot is designed to provide regular reports on progress
which will be fed to the London Rough Sleepers Unit to inform the
development of the unit's strategy for employment for rough sleepers.