Harlow and Gilston Garden Team full of praise for Streets2Homes
Business / Sun 4th Dec 2022 at 09:33am
LAST week saw Street2Homes win HGGT’s Community/Voluntary Organisation of the Year category at the Harlow Town Centre Awards for the second year running.
And with the season of goodwill fast approaching, the Garden Town team caught up with their CEO, Kerrie Eastman, to find out more about the homeless help charity and how residents from across Harlow, Gilston and the local area can support them this Christmas.
Formed off the back of two local charities merging in 2007, Streets2Homes not only respond to reports of rough sleepers around Harlow but provide a day centre that serves as a lifeline for those in need.
“We’ve got shower facilities, clean clothes, training workshops for skills like cookery, online courses and games afternoons that include bingo, which everyone seems to love,” explains Kerrie who has been at the charity since 2010.
“Our staff are also trauma informed and we have links to GP surgeries, drug and alcohol services and mental health support.”
The Day Centre also provides accommodation with nine beds and Street2Homes have put their own stamp on how these are used by those who need them most.
“We’ve created a place that isn’t hostile and nothing like a night shelter where there’s a timeframe on how long you’re there,” says Kerrie of their accommodation approach which has helped over 50 people since launching three years ago.
“If you give someone with a very chaotic life 28 days to sort something out then they will put their head in the sand until day 27 and realise that tomorrow they have to move on.
“We just let people grow at their own pace by guiding them along the way and creating a pathway plan with them. What do they want to achieve? Where do they want to get to? And then we work from there.”
Streets2Homes relies heavily on donations, corporate support and grant funding but Kerrie says that some of the smallest items can make a big difference during the day.
“Our Day Centre always needs tea, coffee, sugar, long life milk and non-perishable food, they’re real essentials for us.
“And if anyone reading this gets unwanted new underwear, socks and clothing over Christmas then please get in touch as that will come in useful in the New Year.”
The holiday period can be a quiet time for Streets2Homes with the Day Centre opening for Christmas dinner cooked by their volunteers but it will be a different story once 2023 kicks in.
“Every February we peak, festivities are over, people have spent too much time together, and then they’re like, ‘can’t be bothered with you anymore,’ and so it begins,” says Kerrie of the familiar pattern.
In the last week, Kerrie and her team reduced the amount of rough sleepers from nine to four in Harlow but Streets2Homes are always aware that the number can go back up rapidly overnight.
“Homelessness comes in all different shapes and forms because you get people who are sofa surfing, who don’t have their own home.
“No one can even count them because they’re under the radar and always at risk of rough sleeping.
“Patience will run out, kindness can run out, especially now with the increase in fuel bills and things like that.
“People are looking at how much someone’s costing them as well so it all has an impact on what we do.”
This year’s Harlow Town Centre Award is also their third since the event launched five years ago: “These awards been great for the team because everybody suffers with compassion fatigue doing this work, some people are very hard to help and some can be abusive.
“But thank you to everyone who voted and for all the lovely comments on social media, it’s been fantastic.”
If you want to donate money, clothes, food or time to Streets2Homes then contact Kerrie and her team here: www.streets2homes.co.uk/contact-us
I'm sure Streets2Home would appreciate it even more if HGGT were to provide housing for homeless instead of lipservice/PR. Does the 30% affordable housing (in the proposed development north of Harlow) allocated to Harlow Council include housing for homeless?
Streets2home do an absolutely sterling job trying to house the homeless.The only reason HGGT have got their collective snouts in trough is to hide the fact that their developments will do nothing for homeless and those on council waiting lists in Harlow.Getting rather fed up with HGGTs endless publicity stunts trying to curry favour with the Harlow electorate.