SUPPORTING PEOPLE SLEEPING ROUGH IN NEWHAM: ANNE’S STORY
Earlier this month, the Greater London Authority released new data about rough sleeping in London between April 2019 and March 2020.
The report shows that Newham had the second highest number of people sleeping rough in any London borough, rising up from third in 2018-19 and overtaking Camden. 724 people were seen rough sleeping in the borough, an increase of 122 from the previous year.
Since the opening of our Assessment Hub in December 2018, Your Place has been one of the frontline services supporting people sleeping rough in Newham. One of the residents we’ve supported through our Hub service is Anne*. Before becoming homeless, Anne was living in London and working as a waitress in a five-star hotel. Without any notice, her landlord sold her home and she had nowhere to live.
“I went from living a normal life with a job I loved, to having nothing – almost overnight. I had nowhere to go and no choice but to sleep on the streets,” she said. “But it was so scary. As a woman, I felt so vulnerable and struggled to sleep for fear of what might happen to me. I slept rough for three months before being put up in a hotel during the Covid-19 lockdown.”
“Now, I’m so happy to have a room of my own at Your Place. I’ve been here for a few weeks now, and it feels like a big family. I have a bedroom, a bathroom, access to food and a kitchen. But most importantly, there are people here that are supporting me.
“There’s some work I need to do to get where I want to be, but my dream is to get back to a normal life – to get a job that I love and a home again. But I’m getting there, and I’m so grateful to Your Place for helping me to reach my goals.”
Amanda, CEO of Your Place, said, “The increase in rough sleeping in Newham is very concerning, but it demonstrates just how vital our services continue to be. The government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme has been critical in providing accommodation during lockdown for people sleeping rough, so we would hope to see a reduction in the 2nd quarter figures. We’re committed to working with the local authority to provide a safe place to call home for the most vulnerable in our community.”
*Name changed at resident’s request to protect their identity