A Long but Rewarding Journey

The outreach team have been working with a female, long-term rough sleeper with heroin and spice addictions. She has also suffered domestic violence at the hands of her former partner and childhood sexual abuse from her father, which has led to a lack of trust in people, low self-esteem and mental health issues. She wasn’t engaging with any other services at this time, other than us.

Over a lengthy period of time, the team built up a good relationship and trust with her as well as her new partner. The outreach team had made several appointments to set up an ESA claim, which she kept missing or declining to attend. After lengthy decisions about accommodation and which hostel she would be happy in, the Crossings was identified as suitable – but only if her partner could go with her.

With accommodation scarce, accessing two rooms at once would be very hard but if she occupied the next room that became available, her partner would be the next on the waiting list. However, when the next room did become available it was declined. However, the following day the outreach team persuaded her to move to the room, which this time she accepted. This was a major achievement and a good step in the relationship the team had built with her.

Unfortunately, she gave up her room after a short period of time to return to the streets because she was worried for her partner’s wellbeing. The team re-approached the possibility of setting up an ESA claim, which she accepted, and a benefits claim was set up. The outreach team then tried to make her a doctor’s appointment but she was no longer registered with a GP. At this point she became very upset and didn’t want to continue with the process any longer.

She has now started to engage with Renew and is on a methadone script. Over the next nine days the outreach team offered five times to take her to register with a doctor. After much persuasion, the team did get her to the doctor, where she received a sick note. This was taken to benefits and an ESA claim was set up.

The outreach team maintained contact with her on an almost daily basis and had started to notice a decline in her health, particularly a nasty cough that was developing. We advised her to go to see her new doctor, which she did but refused to go to the hospital as requested by her GP. The outreach team continued to monitor her closely and offered to ring an ambulance but the offer was declined.

Later, she asked one of the team to take her to the hospital as her condition was getting worse and her chest had started hurting. The team did this and sat in A&E, supporting her through consultations and x-rays. She was discharged from hospital with antibiotics and diagnosed with a nasty chest infection.

An emergency bed at the crossings was repeatedly offered to her but declined, as there wasn’t enough space for her partner to accompany her. The outreach team rang the RSI team to find out if two beds were available, which, fortunately, they were.

Currently, this individual is still in the Crossings. She has spent the last six weeks in her own room and is doing well.

If you have any concerns about a rough sleeper, please call 01482 233722.

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