St Mungo’s Roma Rough Sleeping Team have been announced as a prize winner in this year’s London Homelessness Awards. They will share in a prize fund of £60000, with the final results announced at a special event in central London on November 1st. We asked Edward, a Roma Mediator for St Mungo’s to tell us more about what he does on a typical day with the team.
I’m about to meet my colleague in the local outreach team to look for some Roma clients who we think are rough sleeping nearby. It’s an earlier start because we want to catch people as they are waking up.
Before long we meet a client called Niculita. He is rough sleeping with his mum although she doesn’t want to talk to us right now. Niculita wants to work; he was previously employed as a cleaner in an office nearby, but it was difficult for him to maintain this when he was sleeping on the streets. I let Niculita know he can attend the drop-in centre later today to see our employment adviser. I’m careful not to over promise but we might also be able to provide accommodation while he is waiting for his first paycheck and securing stable accommodation, so the same situation doesn’t happen again.
Around the corner we meet Sandu. Sandu isn’t sure if he has the right to live and work in the UK, so we arrange for him to see the immigration adviser later this morning.
After lots more interactions with clients I head back to the office and do a handover for my colleague so she can follow up with Sandu, Niculita, and his mother (and many other things…).
I have breakfast and then jump on the bus to meet Marius. I’m hoping he has packed his suitcase.
I’m supporting Marius to move into his new accommodation. He has a lot of complex health conditions and after one barrier after another he is moving into housing that will meet his needs. Despite all of his challenges, he remains determined to find a way forward and is so happy to finally have somewhere safe to call home. It is the resilience of my clients – often in the face of racism and discrimination – which gives me the energy to keep going.
Marius is settling in, and we’ve been for a walk so he knows where to find the shops and pharmacy. I check in on my colleague to see how she got on with the clients from earlier. She tells me some really sad news. Niculita’s mother experienced awful violence from an unknown person a few nights ago. We put a support plan in place and are helping her with emergency accommodation while we work out a long-term plan for her and her son. I hope their journey ends the same way as Marius’s.
For more information about the St Mungo’s Roma Rough Sleeping Team go to Roma Rough Sleeping Service – St Mungo’s (mungos.org). To find out more about the London Homelessness Awards go to www.lhawards.org.uk