Funded by Essential Edinburgh and Comic Relief, Cyrenians Outreach Team work on a one-to-one basis with rough sleepers on the streets, providing support through developing a relationship and by responding to the person’s priorities and supporting them to address these. The team’s approach, like all of our work, is underlined by a determination not to give up on people. There are no penalties, no yellow cards, no three-strike rule; only patience, respect, and compassion.
One recent such instance of support is described by Nick, one of our Homeless Navigators working in the centre of Edinburgh.
“The Community Police Team through the BID Policeman recently contacted me. They had come across a young man, Tom, who was rough sleeping and was not receiving support with any agencies or services who he had been signposted to.
I went to meet Tom where he was sleeping near Princes Street, introduced myself and chatted. Over a few meetings Tom opened up and I came to understand that this young man had escaped from an extremely violent situation which he couldn’t return to, and hadn’t managed to find a way to access housing or support due to his illiteracy. Tom’s past experience of ineffective engagement with authorities had understandably made him ambivalent to any offer of support.
After building trust and providing consistent contact, I supported Tom to find accommodation which was agreed ahead of benefit payments being available, based on respect and trust in Tom’s connection to Cyrenians. He discussed looking for work with our work and skills team and accessed vital healthcare through our community link worker. Six weeks on from their first meeting, Tom was settled in accommodation. The Cyrenians Outreach team will continue to support him to sustain that and move towards a future with more than just a roof over his head.”
For 50 years Cyrenians have journeyed with thousands of people like Tom in tough realities, helping them transform their own lives for themselves, but there is still much to do. Please click Donate to support our continued work in this, our 50th year.