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24 Apr 2017

Faye’s April blog

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Why did you choose to work at NSNO?

I had been working in the private sector for ten years and for some time I had been thinking about wanting more meaningful work.

I don’t think you can live in London and not be conscious of homelessness. I’d always worked in the centre of town and had been very aware of people sleeping rough. They say we’re all two or three pay cheques away from homelessness and I really do feel that it could happen to anyone.

I came across an article in the Evening Standard that discussed the work of No Second Night Out. Reading it I felt that NSNO was making a direct impact – that this was a service that was really tackling homelessness heads on. I felt that they were providing people with solutions and I wanted to be a part of that.

How did you start off at NSNO?

I started off volunteering at NSNO as a way to gain experience within service. I also volunteered with an outreach team as I wanted to understand people’s journey prior to coming to an NSNO hub. When I was out with the outreach team it really struck me how hidden many people rough sleeping are. Although I’d been very conscious of people sleeping on the streets, I realised there were also people literally sleeping in the shadows – behind bins, in car park stairwells and in garages. I realised that there can be someone sleeping rough nearby and you can be completely oblivious to them.

After volunteering for 10 months I knew that this was what I wanted to do and I applied to be a Trainee Assessment and Reconnection Worker. After 4 months as a trainee I applied to the full Assessment and Reconnection Worker role and I was successful. Next week I’ll have been in the role for a year.

What is it like to work as an Assessment and Reconnection Worker?

I really enjoy the work. It is challenging, but that’s part of the attraction for me. I’ve gained so much knowledge and I’ve really developed in my role. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many people and through that I’ve developed an understanding of the range of reasons that can lead to people rough sleeping. From those who’ve lost their jobs and no longer been able to pay the rent, to people who are victims of trafficking to those who have no support systems at all – who’ve grown up in care or spent their life going through mental health services or in and out of prison.

No two days are ever the same at NSNO. I could be travelling to Scotland to reconnect a client to their local services, working with our partner mental health team to set up an assessment for a client who needs support with their mental health or doing investigative work on a client’s case.

I find the investigative work we do really interesting. With the most vulnerable people, we work within the current legal framework to build a case to present to a local authorities to prove their duty to provide accommodation for someone. This could mean working as quickly as possible to obtain information and evidence about someone’s housing history or medical history.

For me, what I enjoy most about my job is that I’m putting my efforts towards something that matters. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people, which can be securing temporary accommodation or a room in a hostel for them, but it can also be just sitting down with a client and enabling them to offload and to look forward.