We at the Robes Project believe that we can make a difference in the lives of some of those most at risk in society.
Our strategy is twofold: firstly we provide secure and safe temporary accommodation for people who are at risk of sleeping rough; preventing people from sleeping on the streets in the depths of winter, providing a roof over their head and a warm bed for the night. Secondly, Robes offers the stability needed to help get people back on their feet. We offer advice and support in order to try and make sure that people don’t go back to the streets, addressing key issues including accommodation, finances, health and immigration.
Below are some statistics relating to people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London in 2012/2013*
- 6,437 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2012/2013
- 4,353 people were seen sleeping rough for the first time in London in 2012/2013
- 585 people were seen rough sleeping in Lambeth and 393 people were seen rough sleeping in Southwark. Compared with the other boroughs in London, Lambeth had the second largest number of people seen rough sleeping during 2012/2013 and Southwark the fourth.
- 12% of those seen rough sleeping were female
- 11% of those seen rough sleeping were under 25 years old and 9% of those seen were over 55 years old.
These statistics demonstrate that rough sleeping is a real issue in London. We feel that our charity does a vital job as the Robes Project prevents people from rough sleeping and also supports people to find more permanent solutions including access to accommodation and other services.
We see the night shelter as a platform or a stepping stone for individuals, but don’t just take our word for it, this is what some of our guests have said:
“I became homeless in October 2011 after a downward spiral of setbacks including a combination of losing my job and splitting with my partner and not having the funds to rent a room of my own.
I tried to get help from the local Council, without success, as I was told I am not a priority. I slept rough on the local common’s and made contact with the Ace of Clubs, a homeless peoples advice and drop in centre. The staff at AOC put my name forward to the Robes night shelter and I was accepted. This offer of a temporary roof over my head was a turning point in my life and the beginning of my re integration into society.
I was made to feel very welcome, got 2 cooked meals a day, a bed, the companionship of similar individuals who were homeless and the support of 2 dedicated staff most mornings. This was all during the coldest winter months. There was also specific support/advice on benefit entitlement, re- housing options through charities and /or the DSS, job hunting and also support with using other homeless facilities such as drop in centres and charities.
I personally took advantage of the wellbeing classes and job search facilities of other homeless charities and was given the time and space by the robes staff to do what I felt was necessary, in my own time. This grace afforded me the opportunity to rebuild my confidence and lead directly to me getting a decent job. I still have the job and I am making real progress in getting back to where I was before I became homeless. I am extremely grateful for everything done for me at Robes and would like to express what a real difference Robes made in my life at that time. Sleeping Rough is a total nightmare and there are precious few resources open to people like me, who are unable to get help from local authorities. Robes made a desperate situation tolerable and guided me and many others back on the path to meaningful lives. Bravo.”
Another guest said:
“It has been one month experience I will never forget as long as I live. First I want to thank you with all my heart and all volunteers whose helped me in so many ways while I was so vulnerable, without any other support and help at that time. Many places did refuse to help me because I am Latvian. I did experience rough sleeping before Robe Project opened the door for homeless people and suffered from coldness, hunger, health problems and hopelessness was in my mind. I was looking for to get out of the situation I was in, but without support from others it was impossible even when I tried, my desire to find a job, place to live was so strong but without success while being homeless. Crispin and Olivia’s advices, and Help while I was on the Robe Project helped me to move on. Possibility to tidy myself up with access to showers, clothes and toiletries, to get desired rest at nights at warm welcome churches I was able to start completely a new life, to get a job and soon after to afford the place to rent. Today I can live in success like there would have never been the black line in my past. Today I work for one of London’s most prestigious, luxury hotels and can support myself and to help others, but if I would never have this opportunity to be on the Project, today perhaps I would still struggle with everyday living. I wish there would be more people like me, who can have a chance to get Support I got and move on enjoying life.”
*Taken from ‘Street to Home Bulletin 2012/2013’. Information is from the ‘Combined Homelessness and Information Network’ (CHAIN), a database commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and managed by Broadway Homelessness and Support.